We’re off to do our civic duty. But what we’re thinking about today, other than which levers to pull, is the 2010 corruption perception index.
More specifically, whether the U.S. should still be leading the charge against international graft? Or has the country now forfeited its leadership role?
For the first time, as we heard a few days ago, America was voted out of the CPI’s top 20 — and is now perceived as more corrupt than Canada, the U.K., Australia, Barbados, Chile, Iceland, Germany, Japan and, yes, even Qatar.
Why the decline? Rob Walton and Michael Whitener recited a litany yesterday — shady lending and trading practices that triggered the Great Recession; money-flooded U.S. politics; and Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff and his copycats.
And let’s not forget two U.S.-led wars — now unmentionable, apparently, by anyone occupying or running for public office. Before the wall of silence went up, the world found out the Iraq war was sold on a false bill of goods. And in Afghanistan, the U.S. government itself has been shoveling black money into the mix, for purposes no one back home can explain.
So it’s no wonder the rest of the world thinks America has lost some of its integrity. And why on the CPI the country landed just ahead of Uruguay, France, and Estonia — a neighborhood not well known for iron-fisted compliance.
Today, then, as we exercise the greatest of all democratic privileges, we’ll also be pondering what the the new ranking might mean for our favorite subject, FCPA enforcement.
More on that later.