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Group of 10 NGOs call on Congress to pass anti-corruption initiatives as part of coronavirus response

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CONGRESS MUST PASS ANTI-CORRUPTION LEGISLATION AS PART OF FUTURE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE PACKAGES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Global Financial Integrity, Global Witness and eight other organizations released a letter of support today calling on the US Congress to pass anti-corruption legislation as part of future coronavirus response packages. Congress must recognize the urgent risk that greatly needed aid and resources for addressing the pandemic could be diverted and lost to corruption, both in the US and abroad. 

The following four anti-corruption bills would help strengthen and protect the US response to the coronavirus pandemic: the Countering Russian and Other Overseas Kleptocracy (CROOK) Act (H.R. 3843/S. 3026); the Kleptocrat Exposure Act (H.R. 3441); the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (H.R. 4140); and the Justice for Victims of Kleptocracy Act (H.R. 4361). All four of these initiatives enjoy the support of the bipartisan and bicameral US Helsinki Commission, led by nine Senators, nine Representatives, and three Executive Branch officials, working to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law around the world. 

At a time when corruption risks undermining efforts to stymie the coronavirus and minimize human suffering, these bills would streamline US efforts to strengthen the rule of law abroad; make public the names and misdeeds of international kleptocrats; end impunity for foreign corrupt officials; and shine a light on the ill-gotten gains hidden in the United States. 

Taken together, the passage of these bills would be a decisive and preventative step against allowing international kleptocracy and corruption to flourish during the coronavirus pandemic. It would also promote the rule of law at a time when global norms have been upended and would help protect the US financial system from illicit actors while the international financial system is in a state of flux.

Tom Cardamone, President & CEO of Global Financial Integrity, issued the following statement:

“As leaders around the world take action to combat the spread of the coronavirus, money will flow to government ministries, contractors, pharmaceutical companies, and others. In times of crisis, there will always be some looking for illicit opportunities. Transparency and oversight is urgently needed to prevent a snowballing of international kleptocracy and corruption out of this public health crisis.”

Alexandria Robins, Policy Advisor at Global Witness, issued the following statement:

“Each year, billions are lost to corruption and fraud in healthcare around the world. As the US and other global leaders step up to fight the spread of the coronavirus and the health and economic devastation it leaves behind, Congress must ensure that any urgently-needed relief and resources are not lost to corruption at home or abroad. Passing legislation that would strengthen the rule of law and deter kleptocrats and the corrupt must be a priority within future coronavirus response packages. Countless lives depend on it.”

ABOUT GLOBAL FINANCIAL INTEGRITY: Global Financial Integrity is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, producing high-caliber analyses of illicit financial flows, advising developing country governments on effective policy solutions and promoting pragmatic transparency measures in the international financial system as a means to global development and security.

ABOUT GLOBAL WITNESS: Global Witness has been exposing and fighting corruption around the world for the past 25 years. 

 

CONTACT:

Maureen Heydt          

Communications Coordinator

Global Financial Integrity

mheydt@nullgfintegrity.org

www.gfintegrity.org 

@IllicitFlows 

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