The Problem Remains Money in Politics
by Amanda Adams*
Feb 23, 2010
Global Integrity, an international nonprofit organization that tracks global corruption trends, released the Global Integrity Index: 2009. The report analyzed 35 countries' ability to counter corruption, and the tools available to citizens to hold the government accountable.
"Rather than examine the 'cancer' of corruption, the Index investigates the 'medicine' being used against it — in the form of government accountability, transparency, and citizen oversight." Overall, the U.S. scored 85 out of 100, and was the second least corrupt country in the study.
According to the findings, "The Obama administration's early anti-corruption efforts focused significantly on tighter restrictions around lobbying. While certainly not harmful, there are few data to suggest that increasing the transparency around lobbying activities at the federal level is the solution to corruption challenges in the United States. Rather than lobbying, Global Integrity data point to the corrupting influence of massive amounts of money in the federal elections process as one of the core drivers of corruption in the American system."
Further, the Citizens United decision, "will likely pour fuel on the fire of political corruption in the U.S. While free speech concerns loomed large in the court's decision to overturn longstanding campaign finance controls, the practical reality is that by allowing significant new inflows of private money into the U.S. political process, the court's decision may simply overwhelm an already dysfunctional Federal Elections Commission and undermine prospects for more accountable governance."
Nevertheless, the administration earned high marks for urging federal agencies to disclose information under Freedom of Information Act requests and for the Open Government Initiative. Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, in a peer review section of the document stated "it will take time for Obama to overcome a longtime pattern of secrecy that has been imbedded in the federal bureaucracy. 'The culture in government is that you typically don't give out information that you don't have to.'"
According to the report, "significant progress has not been achieved in curbing corruption at the national level in the U.S." For more information on the report and how the study was conducted, click here.back to Blog