Nearly six in ten Americans believe the US became more corrupt in 2017

New survey shows the White House is now considered the most corrupt institution in the US

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



The results of a survey released today by Transparency International show that compared to early 2016 more Americans now believe corruption is on the rise in the US and that the White House is the most corrupt of nine key institutions.

The levels of perceived corruption in government institutions were already high in 2016. Citizens are now more critical of their government’s performance in tackling corruption, and expressed concern in a number of areas.

The results of the US Corruption Barometer 2017 show:

"There is a clear sense that people feel corruption has gotten worse. In January 2016, Americans were already distrustful of Washington. Last year Congress fared the worst in this survey.  This year it is the White House, followed by Congress. Our elected officials are failing to build back trust in Washington’s ability to serve the people, and still appear to represent elite corporate interests," said Zoe Reiter, US Representative at Transparency International.

Washington Scores Badly

Respondents were asked whether they think some, none, most or all people are corrupt in nine influential groups.

 

In both 2016 and 2017, the Office of the President, members of Congress and government officials were seen as the most corrupt. In 2017, the White House overtook Congress.

Local government fared better than federal institutions, indicating that people place more trust in their representatives closer to home. Judges are seen as the least corrupt of the nine groups we asked about.

Retaliation Keeps People from Speaking Out

The good news is that three quarters of Americans believe they can make a difference in the fight against corruption, though they have changed their views on how this can best be done. Today fewer people believe the ballot box is the best way (down from 34 per cent in 2016 to 28 per cent in 2017). 

About a fifth of all respondents said the most effective strategy would be reporting corruption.

However, the survey revealed a worrying increase in those who say that the main reason people do not report corruption is because they are afraid of the consequences, up from 31 per cent in 2016 to 55 per cent in 2017. Sixteen per cent said the main reason people do not report corruption is because nothing will be done.

Conclusions

These results are a snapshot of national sentiments and indicate that our elected leaders in Washington have much more work to do to win back the trust of citizens.

Transparency International calls on the US Government to address the following:

1. Transparency in political spending: Make all spending on politics genuinely transparent, with:

2. Prevention of revolving doors: Stop the unchecked exchange of personnel among corporations, lobbyists and our elected and high-level government officials.

3. Establishing who owns what: End the use of anonymous shell companies, which can be a source of conflict of interest and/or vehicles for illicit activity.

4. Strengthening the ethics infrastructure: Reinforce the independence and oversight capabilities of the Office of Government Ethics.

5. Protection of whistle-blowers: Improve and implement laws and regulations to protect the whistle-blowers who expose corruption and other misconduct by the government and its contractors.

6. Providing basic access to information: Increase access to information about the government, as a means to empower the public to fight corruption.

 

Notes to editors: An article summarising the findings of the US Corruption Barometer 2017  is available here.

Survey Methodology: Transparency International commissioned Efficience3 to carry out the US Barometer 2017. Efficience3 directed a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing of 1,005 respondents in the US from October 2017 to November 2017. Respondents were selected using Random Digital Dialling. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all adults in the United States aged 18+ by age, gender, social grade, region, rural/urban area, and ethnicity. Efficience3 conducted a comparable survey of 1,001 respondents in the US for Transparency International from January 2016 to February 2016. Due to rounding, percentages may not total 100%. 


For any press enquiries please contact

Michael Hornsby
T: +1 347 471 69 02
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

Austria’s Strache affair and the undue influence toolkit

A week ago, German newspapers published evidence of the former Vice-Chancellor of Austria and a colleague apparently negotiating corrupt deals with the purported niece of a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin. The scandal illustrates the tools and methods used by those who wish to enrich themselves from public funds and advance private interests over the public good.

Why corruption matters in the EU elections

What voters should know as they head to the polls.

Four ways the G20 can take the lead on anti-corruption

The globalisation of world trade and finance has been accompanied by an internationalisation of corruption. The G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group therefore has the potential to be a very important partner in the fight for a more just world.

Venezuela: Se necesitan instituciones sólidas para abordar la delincuencia organizada

La corrupción en las más altas esferas del Gobierno venezolano ha causado inestabilidad social y económica extrema y ha debilitado a las instituciones estatales que deberían proteger a la ciudadanía. Las redes de delincuencia organizada actúan con impunidad en todo el país.

Venezuela: Strong institutions needed to address organised crime

Corruption in the top echelons of the Venezuelan government has led to extreme instability and weak state institutions, and allows organised crime networks to act with impunity all across the country.

The trillion dollar question: the IMF and anti-corruption one year on

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made public commitments and adopted a new framework to address corruption - we check how the IMF is progressing with this one year later.

Three years after the Panama Papers: progress on horizon

The explosive Pulitzer Prize-winning global media project known as the "Panama Papers" turned three years old, and there are many reasons to celebrate.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media