You know that saying about people who live in glass houses…
The White House has released the following statement regarding high-level corruption practices in countries around the world and what they plan to do about it:
For too long, the culture of corruption has undercut development and good governance and bred criminality and mistrust around the world. High-level corruption by senior government officials, or kleptocracy, is a grave and corrosive abuse of power and represents the most invidious type of public corrpution. It threatens our national interest and violates our values. It impedes our efforts to promote freedom and democracy, end poverty, and combat international crime and terrorism. Kleptocracy is an obstacle to democratic progress, undermines faith in government institutions, and steals prosperity from the people. Promoting transparent, accountable governance is a critical component of our freedom agenda.
… Today, I am announcing a new element in my Administration’s plan to fight kleptocracy, The National Strategy to Internationalize Efforts against Kleptocracy, which sets forth a framework to deter, prevent, and address high-level, public corruption. It identifies critical tools to detect and prosecute corrupt officials around the world, so that the promise of economic assistance and growth reaches the people.
Our objective is to defeat high-level public corruption in all its forms and to deny corrupt officials access to the international financial system as a means of defrauding their people and hiding their ill-gotten gains. … Together, we can confront kleptocracy and help create the conditions necessary for people everywhere to enjoy the full benefits of honest, just, and accountable governance.
From the accompanying Fact Sheet:
Public corruption erodes democracy, rule of law, and economic well-being by undermining public financial management and accountability, discouraging foreign investment, and stiffling economic growth and sustainable development.
Kleptocracy Is A Threat To The Governments And Citizens Of Both Developing And Developed Countries. Corruption by senior officials in executive, judicial, legislative, or other official positions in government can destabilize whole societies and destroy the aspirations of their people for a better way of life.
We need to first take care of the corruption issues and set a good example in our own country before we start “policing” the rest of the world on this issue. Look at the following excerpt from this 118 page report:
The culture of corruption has thrived in Republican-controlled Washington because the Republican Congress has intentionally allowed the processes that normally hold our politicians accountable to the American people to completely collapse. For the past several years, the Republican Congress has not enforced the code of ethics that requires Members of Congress to act with honesty at all times and to put the public interest above their own. At the same time, it has not exercised its constitutional responsibility of oversight – to ensure that the federal government is not abusing or overstapping the powers Congress has given it. As Republican Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) recently summaized the situation to USA Today: “We simply have too much power…We Republicans have abused that power badly over the past several years.”
The Republican culture of corruption has also infected the legislative process itself. As Rules Committee Democrats argued in a report issued at the beginning of the 109th Congress, Republican House leaders have broken the promise they once made to conduct the people’s business in an open, democratic manner. Instead, they have routinely twisted and broken the House rules to jam their lobbyist-written bills through the House without giving elected representatives an opportunity to debate, amend or, in some cases, even read those bills. And, as Appendix 3 to this report demonstrates, it’s getting worse. In the first session of the 109th Congress, the percentage of bills debated under open rules hit a record low…
What has all this got to do with corruption? If you can play fast and loose with the rules of the game in lawmaking, it becomes easier to consider playing fast and loose with everything else, including relations with lobbyists, acceptance of favors, the use of official resources and the discharge of governmental power.
Representative Louise Slaughter (NY-28) precisely sums up this sentiment:
“For years, this Republican leadership has abdicated its constitutionally mandated responsibility to provide accountability and oversight in our government,” Rep. Slaughter said. “Sadly, top Republicans have also worked to actively sabotage accountability, transparency, and honesty in government, both at home and abroad.”
“We are witnessing the undermining of some of the most vital elements of our federal government. This Administration has no desire to subject its ideas on any issue to either the impartial scrutiny of career professionals or to the honest evaluation of the American people. It is obsessed with getting its way and hiding its failings. Those with dissenting viewpoints, no matter how knowledgeable they may be, are eliminated instead of consulted. The result has been the whittling away of institutions the citizens of this nation have trusted for generations to keep them safe and to keep our country moving in the right direction.”
How does this current administration expect to clean up the corruption in other countries’ governments when we have corruption throughout our own government. And, is it even our place to take on this task?
[NOTE: all bold emphasis above are mine.]