Rolling Back Anticorruption

The campaign against corruption has become a cornerstone of Western development and foreign policy for the past 25 years. This effort built on a variety of earlier steps Dodd-Frank Transparency Measures , most notably the 1977 enactment of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which criminalized overseas bribery by firms under US jurisdiction, but the effort really accelerated starting in the late 1990s. By way of instance, while European nations had resisted adopting legislation similar to the FCPA for 20 years, this changed with the adoption of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 1997, which was followed a couple of decades later by the 2002 UN Convention Against Corruption. International financial institutions such as the World Bank are becoming more aggressive about debarment of contractors found to have behaved corruptly, and we also have seen the proliferation of corporate-level moral codes, encouraged by organizations such as the World Economic Forum and UN Global Compact, designed to stop corrupt behavior.

Recent initiatives have pushed for greater transparency. By way of instance, in america, the Dodd-Frank Act ended the aggregation of corporate earnings across nations; an EU Directive promulgated shortly later imposed similar conditions. More recently, an initiative to disclose the true beneficial owners of corporations and other legal entities, pushed by former British Prime Minister David Cameron, has already taken legislative form in the United Kingdom; beneficial ownership transparency is also the subject of an EU Directive and was being encouraged by the Obama government. And even though the so-called”offshore centers” have to adopt comparable transparency of beneficial ownership, regulatory systems in those facilities have been significantly enhanced. There also have been several important initiatives that were sector-level in the resources industry. These include the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)–which requires participating governments of energy and mineral exporting countries, in addition to companies in the extractive industry, to commit to a process of revenue transparency–and national-level legislation, such as Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which impose so-called”publish what you pay” obligations on extractive companies.

Even more encouragingly, this slowly improving regulatory environment has been accompanied by growing public resistance to corruption, as reflected in large scale demonstrations across the world. Crowds on the roads, as an instance, have recently supported the proposed prosecutions of their present and previous Presidents of Brazil and opposed weakening of anticorruption legislation in Romania.

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