WASHINGTON – During a hearing today on U.S. efforts to fight global corruption, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned of the threat corrupt governments pose to U.S. national security interests. The annual cost of corruption, according to estimates cited by the World Economic Forum, amounts to approximately five percent of global economic output or roughly $2.6 trillion.
“Widespread, pervasive public breach of trust internationally can undermine our most important national interests,” said Corker. “In some cases, widespread abuses can stoke the fires of populism against corrupt governments, increasing the chances of instability or even violence…Such states, when coupled with the government monopoly on power, can present extraordinary national security risks to the United States.”
He stressed the importance of a comprehensive approach to anti-corruption that allows for continued engagement with countries on issues important to the U.S.
“If we want to fight corruption effectively and institute norms of government accountability, we have to develop smart strategies that allow us to target efforts at multiple levels of government and the population at large,” added Corker. “We must be firm but fair, recognizing that cultivating a culture of public integrity may, in many countries, take a very, very long time.”
The committee heard testimony today from seniors officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State, as well as experts from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy.
For archived footage and complete witness testimony, click here.