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Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption calls on the USA to ratify the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, praises the overall transparency of political financing but stresses the need to enhance this transparency in respect of certain types of contributions

Press Release

Strasbourg, 26 January 2012 –  The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) calls for the United States of America to ratify the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and to fully incorporate it into the law. GRECO stresses that the United States is one of the very few member states which are not a party to the Convention and its Additional Protocol. Although the US legislation and practice provide for a high degree of “functional” consistency with the Convention and the enforcement regime is effective in prosecuting corruption offences, US law does not appear to meet all the requirements of the Convention, for example, as regards bribery in a foreign context and private sector bribery.

The constitutional and legal framework and practice in respect of political financing generally ensures an extraordinarily transparent system under the Federal Election Campaign Act, the implementation of which has been supervised by the Federal Election Commission, for more than 35 years. GRECO notes the trend of a general rise in total election campaign spending in the USA and highlights that campaign financing for a specific cause (“issue advocacy”) is not covered by the transparency rules. Moreover, GRECO calls for further transparency in respect of political funding by so called “501(c)-organisations” which, under certain conditions, may be used as vehicles to circumvent the rules on public disclosure of donations for political campaigning.

GRECO will monitor the United State’s responses to the report during 2013.

Links to the report: Theme I / Theme II

GRECO was established in 1999 by the Council of Europe to monitor states’ compliance with the organisation’s anti-corruption standards. It currently comprises 48 European states and the United States of America.