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Corruption still widely perceived as pervasive - Transparency and accountability are focal points for United States

Corruption continues to plague too many countries around the world, according to Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index, released today. Many governments fail to protect those within their borders from abuse of public resources, tolerance of corruption by public officials, and secretive decision-making. “Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of TI.

Corruption Perceptions Index 2012: The results

The index scores 176 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 13 international surveys that look at factors such as accountability of national and local governments, effective enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to government information and abuse of government ethics and conflict of interest rules. Denmark, Finland and New Zealand top the rankings. Almost 70% of ranked countries score less than 50 with Somalia, Afghanistan and North Korea tied for last.

Results for the United States

The United States ranks 19th in this year’s CPI, lower than many of its partners in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The U.S. ranking confirms that Americans believe there are continued transparency and corruption issues in local, state and national government institutions and processes. Numerous articles and editorials during the recent U.S. elections attest to American concern regarding opaque campaign financing and a political culture driven by special interest groups.

“While the United States has a commendable record of enforcing its anti-bribery laws, greater efforts must be made to increase transparency and accountability in U.S. governance. This includes strengthening the ability of prosecutors to pursue undisclosed conflicts of interest by government officials,” said Claudia Dumas, President and CEO of Transparency International – USA.

TI-USA is also working toward stronger enforcement by other countries of their anti-bribery laws, enhanced anti-corruption practices by business, greater ability of civil society to monitor government procurements, and effective anti-corruption safeguards in international assistance.

Note to editors:

The 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index incorporates a new methodology. Information on how the index is prepared is available in the FAQ. For the full ranking and regional tables, go to: http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2012 . A country’s score from 2011 cannot be compared to the 2012 score.


For any press enquiries please contact

Claudia J. Dumas
T: 202-589-1616
E: administration@transparency-usa.org