The 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index was released by Transparency International. It covers 180 countries and territories based on “perceived levels of public sector corruption,” pulled from 13 expert assessments and polls of business executives. The United States tumbled to its worst score since 2012. The scale used runs from 1 to 100. The lower the score is, the higher the perception of public corruption is.
In the new study, the United States ranks 25th among all nations with a score of 67. The two nations with the best scores are New Zealand and Denmark with scores of 88. Gary Kalman, Director of the U.S. Office of Transparency International, commented:
Attacks by the previous administration on a landmark anti-bribery law, on whistleblowers with evidence of fraud and corruption in the government, on oversight of pandemic relief funding, and on the nation’s electoral process were all likely factors impacting assessments of corruption in the United States.
Executives at Transparency International believe that actions by the new administration could move the score back in the right direction.
Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said the pandemic has thrown new light onto the corruption problem worldwide: “COVID-19 is not just a health and economic crisis. It is a corruption crisis. And one that we are currently failing to manage.” He believes nations with high corruption have been less able to fight the disease because of flaws in government systems brought on by systemic problems.
The United States finds itself in particularly troubling company. It ranks below the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, each with a score of 71. Chile with a score of 67, and Qatar a score of 63.
At least the United States is nowhere near the bottom of the list. Syria, Somalia and South Sudan are in the bottom three places with 14, 12 and 12 points, respectively.
Other notable scores are China in 78th place with a score of 42, India in 86th place with a score of 40 and Russia in 129th place with a score of 30.