President Joe Biden on Thursday directed his administration to conduct a wide-ranging review of global anti-corruption efforts by U.S. departments and agencies in an effort to improve the country’s fight against international financial crime.
“Corruption is a risk to our national security, and we must recognize it as such,” Biden said in a statement. “Today, I am issuing a National Security Study Memorandum on the Fight Against Corruption to establish combating corruption as a core U.S. national security interest. With this Memorandum, I am directing departments and agencies to make recommendations that will significantly bolster the ability of the U.S. government to combat corruption.”
The president noted, “The United States will lead by example and in partnership with allies, civil society, and the private sector to fight the scourge of corruption. But this is a mission for the entire the world. And, we must all stand in support of courageous citizens around the globe who are demanding honest, transparent governance.”
The Hill reported, the review will involve more than a dozen agencies and offices in the executive branch, and will be led by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, with recommendations to be made after 200 days.
“We are really confident that implementation of this directive is going to lead to new and bold and decisive actions to combat corruption around the world,” a senior Biden administration official told The Hill. “It of course builds upon much that we are already doing.”
Another senior administration official told Politico, “with the memorandum, the president is formally establishing the fight against corruption as a core national security interest of the United States.”
The Treasury Department recently imposed sanctions on three Bulgarians it accused of “abusing public institutions for profit,” which prevent them or their companies from utilizing the U.S. financial system.
“The United States stands with all Bulgarians who strive to root out corruption by promoting accountability for corrupt officials who undermine the economic functions and democratic institutions of Bulgaria,” Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea M. Gacki said in a statement. “Not only does corruption deprive citizens of resources, it can erode the institutions intended to protect them. This designation under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program shows that we are committed to combating corruption wherever it may be.”
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