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Biden Admin Unveils Anti-Corruption Strategy

Radical Compliance |   | Dec 6, 2021

Anti corruption - Biden Admin Unveils Anti-Corruption StrategyThe Biden Administration has released its strategy on countering corruption around the world, with lots of talk about cross-border collaboration, data collection, and tougher U.S. enforcement; but relatively little about new legislation that might add fresh burdens to anti-corruption compliance programs.

The White House released the strategy document, 38 pages long, on Monday morning. It outlines five “pillars” of the Administration’s anti-corruption strategy, with a bunch of strategic objectives under each pillar and numerous specific examples of what the Administration might do sprinkled throughout. The strategy itself is follow-up from a memo President Biden issued in June promising to make anti-corruption a central piece of the country’s national security strategy.

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The five pillars are the usual flabby phrases you see from high levels of government; action items that sound bold yet really don’t tell you much. For the record, the pillars are:

  • Modernizing, coordinating, and resourcing U.S. government efforts to fight corruption;
  • Curbing illicit finance;
  • Holding corrupt actors accountable;
  • Preserving and strengthening the multilateral anti-corruption architecture; and,
  • Improving diplomatic engagement and leveraging foreign assistance resources to advance policy goals.

That’s all fine, but the more substantive stuff is tucked away in those strategic objectives and examples of what the Administration might do to implement them. For example, under the bullet point of modernizing and coordinating U.S. government resources to fight corruption, the strategy document outlines five strategic objectives:

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  • Enhance corruption related research, data collection, and analysis;
  • Improve information sharing domestically and internationally;
  • Increase focus on the transnational dimensions of corruption;
  • Organize and resource the fight against corruption more effectively to institutionalize this work as a long-term priority;
  • Integrate anti-corruption considerations into regional, thematic, and sectoral priorities, including through new guidance.

Higher Penalties on Gatekeepers

The strategy document also talked about the need to take a tougher stance against lawyers, accountants, business advisers, and other executives who serve as gatekeepers in the world of corporate transactions. Too often, the document said, those people can turn a blind eye to the corruption of their clients and partners.

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