Press Release

January 22, 2021
Cardin, Young Introduce Combating Global Corruption Act to Make Anti-Corruption a National Security Priority

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), both members of the Senate Finance and Senate Foreign Relations committees, re-introduced today the Combatting Global Corruption Act (S. 14), bipartisan legislation that would raise the profile of efforts to fight international corruption by making it an American national security priority.

“Corruption is a fundamental obstacle to peace, prosperity, and human rights all around the world. Where there are high levels of corruption we find fragile states, authoritarian states, or states suffering from internal or external conflict,” said Senator Cardin. “Combatting corruption should be elevated and prioritized across our foreign policy efforts. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Biden administration to ensure fighting corruption is a central U.S. national security priority.”

“Global corruption is often at the root of conflict, humanitarian suffering, and political crises. In places like Afghanistan, Yemen, and Venezuela, corruption has undermined the rule of law and stood in the way of humanitarian aid reaching those in need. Our bipartisan legislation aims to combat international corruption by standing with the world’s most vulnerable and holding those in power responsible for their actions,” said Senator Young.

Global corruption erodes trust and confidence in democratic institutions, the rule of law, and human rights protections. It also damages the United States’ competitiveness and creates barriers to economic growth in international markets. Around the world, corruption endangers national and international security by fostering the conditions for violent extremism, hampering the ability of the United States to combat terrorism, entrenching high poverty, and by weakening institutions associated with governance and accountability.

The Combating Global Corruption Act (S. 14) would require the State Department to identify corruption in countries and rank them in a public, three-tiered system with respect to levels of corruption in their governments, similar to the Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report. The bill would also establish minimum standards for combating corruption; evaluate foreign persons engaged in grand corruption in the lowest tiered countries for consideration under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act; and designate an anti-corruption point of contact at U.S. diplomatic posts in the two lowest tiered countries.