Waging War on Corruption by Frank Vogl
Waging War on Corruption by Frank Vogl

Frank Vogl on Corruption

Oct 10, 2012

Corruption is not a victimless crime, as many believe. Transparency International's Frank Vogl discusses the global, grass-roots fight against this age-old problem.

DAVID SPEEDIE: I'm David Speedie, director of the program on U.S. Global Engagement here at the Carnegie Council. I am delighted to welcome our guest today, Frank Vogl, who is the president of Vogl Communications, Inc., in Washington, D.C., a financial and economic public relations firm. But most importantly for today's purposes, he is the co-founder of two organizations, Transparency International [TI] and the Partnership for Transparency Fund.

He served as the vice chairman of Transparency International for its first nine years and now serves on its advisory council and as the advisor to the managing director. He was previously a prominent international economic journalist for Reuters and The Times of London and served as director of information and public affairs at the World Bank.

Mr. Vogl is here to speak also about his new book, Waging War on Corruption: Inside the Movement Fighting the Abuse of Power, which came out in mid-September

Mr. Vogl, welcome back to the Council.

FRANK VOGL: It's a great pleasure. Thank you for having me.

DAVID SPEEDIE: You're very welcome.

Let me, as I say, begin at the beginning. Transparency International and the Partnership for Transparency Fund is described by one of the reviewers of your book as "the champion NGO in the anti-corruption fight." The origins of Transparency International and this affiliated, separate organization are fascinating. Please tell us a little bit about how it came about, how you came from the World Bank to this side of the equation, as it were.

FRANK VOGL: Peter Eigen was a very good friend of mine at the World Bank. In the late 1980s, he became the director for East Africa, based in Nairobi. He became increasingly frustrated that nobody at the World Bank would listen to him when he said, "So many of our great projects are failing because the money is being stolen. Corruption is one of the largest problems with sub-Saharan Africa, particularly with aid programs, and nobody is doing anything about it."

So Peter gathered together some friends. I was one of them. And we started to brainstorm about trying to create something, if you will, like Amnesty International for the anti-corruption area, something that was international, not for profit, nongovernmental, that could raise public awareness about the problem.

It was a tremendously important time, because the Berlin Wall had fallen. There was a great deal of talk about creating democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, but nobody really knew how to do it. There was a lot of questioning at the same time in this post-Cold War era about the use of foreign aid and whether it was just being stolen and going into Swiss bank accounts rather than helping the poor.

So we were right in terms of our timing. Peter led the charge. Transparency International was created. To our amazement, this band of dreamers who really thought they could do something—but most people thought we were very nice and idealistic, but really hadn't got a chance—we found very quickly that there were an enormous number of people all over the world very frustrated about corruption who wanted to join the movement and do something. So today, 20 years later, we have 100 national chapters in the world. Much more importantly, there are literally hundreds of nongovernmental organizations across the world engaged in anti-corruption, pro-human rights, pro-democracy activities.

DAVID SPEEDIE: And you have country directors in all 100 countries?

FRANK VOGL: Each country has its own national organization. These are not staff people. They have their own national chapter, their own national organization. TI Bangladesh has something like 6,000 volunteers. TI Zambia has a few thousand. TI Russia—again, an independent group. But they are all affiliated with the international movement.

DAVID SPEEDIE: First of all, as you have just said, corruption, as you describe it, is universal, and so is the global effort to combat it. You say that at one point in the book. But you also speak to the very contemporary issue of the so-called—and perhaps, in some people's view, unfortunately, prematurely called—Arab Spring and how this speaks to some of the issues both for Transparency International itself and for the substance of the book. Do you feel this is some sort of vindication, or at least an illustration of the problem?

FRANK VOGL: I think it represents an incredibly important landmark in a long journey to reduce corruption across the world. I think it should be seen from that perspective. Let me explain why.

It is terribly important that people understand that you cannot impose good governance from outside a country, for all the good intentions of the United Nations or the World Bank or whatever. It is up to the peoples of the countries themselves to determine and to fight for the kinds of governments that they want.

What has been enormously difficult in the anti-corruption area is to move from elite-based organizations and organizations that stimulate investigative journalists and a few very active campaigners, to make it into a mass public movement. Only when you get to the grassroots can you start to bring the pressures that can produce sustainable change.

What we saw in the Arab Spring was tens of thousands of people overcoming enormous personal risk to go out into the streets, because they felt that they had reached a point where, in the name of their personal dignity, in the name of their personal self respect, they needed to voice their opposition to what they perceived as an illegitimate government.

We have seen since then more and more mass campaigns in many countries. In many of these campaigns, like everything in the anti-corruption journey, you get some steps forward; you get some reversals. This is not a straight line. But the degree to which we are seeing mass public engagement in many countries today in this anti-corruption effort is unprecedented, and it has a momentum and an energy that I think the so-called Arab Spring helped to unleash.

DAVID SPEEDIE: I do want to get into the U.S. role, responsibilities, track record, and all this. You and I were talking a little earlier about Afghanistan, for example, and the calibration of efforts there and concerns with what happens to, for example, U.S. aid. But before we do get into that, I would like to pick up on your point about sustainable change.

Quite often it really is a sort of good news/bad news proposition, isn't it? You point to the growth of civil society, the growth of the Internet. At one point you describe a hyper-connected age of transparency, courtesy of the Internet, to curb and address corruption. At one point you also say that the defenders of secrecy are in retreat.

However, so often it seems like a society sort of re-infects itself, doesn't it? At one point you point to Ukraine and the promise of the Orange Revolution and what has happened since then—the recidivism in terms of corruption in Ukraine.

Would it be overly skeptical to say, doesn't this point to some sort of question of corruption being something endemic, intractable, inevitable?

FRANK VOGL: I think it's easy to fall into that trap. I don't think, if you really look at what's happening on the ground and what has happened over the last 20 years in many parts of the world, that you would reach that conclusion. As I say, there are always going to be reversals. Sometimes the most sudden good break—the election of somebody who looks sincere about being anti-corruption, such as the present president of Kenya, and who, within a couple of years, has turned out to be as crooked as his predecessor. We will see that again. We have seen it in the past.

But at the very same time, we are seeing levels of public participation in anti-corruption efforts that are really amazing. There are now something like 55, maybe 60 countries in the world where civil society organizations are running public advisory services, often through the Internet, but also through various offices, where tens of thousands of individuals are coming forward and saying, "I'm a victim of corruption. Is there somebody who can help me?"

There are more and more people coming forward with legal skills or accounting skills or civil society-type skills, who are saying, "Yes, let me see if I can help you."

We are seeing that the pressures that are being put on officials in many, many places to respond because of these kinds of largely unreported, small stories—but thousands of them—are starting to make a difference.

The Partnership for Transparency Fund, which I helped to create, has the specific mission of helping specific projects. It's not in the great, big public awareness-raising mode. Rather, for example, in India, where they passed a Right to Information Act a few years ago, we have helped to train many people in civil society to tell ordinary people in small towns and villages, "These are your rights. You can go to the municipal hall. You can ask to see the public payrolls. You can see why you have been denied a job, because the local official has put the cash for that job in his own pocket and put in the rolls somebody who has already been dead for many years."

These small things are happening now time and time again, many, many times. They build a broad-based public support for change that I don't think should be underestimated.

DAVID SPEEDIE: It's interesting that you should mention India. I was going to ask you, quite apart from the groundswell at the grassroots level, what would you identify as perhaps some of the success stories at the national level; in other words, where things have filtered up to effect positive change? The Financial Times, I think just last week, ran a fairly large article on India's ongoing corruption issues. Will this essentially buckle the economy? Corruption is an ongoing problem in India.

What would you point to as some success stories in terms of sustainable change, to use your term?

FRANK VOGL: The Right to Information Act, by the way, is incredibly important in India in this context. We are going to see more legislation in India to open up monitoring of public contracting on a scale that has never been seen before.

This results directly from a scandal, the so-called "Coalgate" scandal in India, where a huge number of coal franchises, coal exploration franchises and production franchises, basically have been given away to cronies of politicians. It has created a huge uproar in India, because every Indian, every day, suffers power outages. So the protest here, the drive for change, isn't coming from any sort of moral crusade. It isn't coming from any sort of great idealistic drive—"oh, this is bad; this is corruption"—it's coming from the fact that people want power in their shops, in their homes, and they want it at a decent price. Over $30 billion of contracts have been literally given away without transparency. We will see reform there.

If you take Brazil—Latin America has suffered enormously from corrupt regimes for a very, very long period of time—there's the largest trial of former politicians ever in the history of Brazil over the issue of corruption taking place right now. Why? Because as democracy has gradually got its foothold in Brazil, starting in the early 1990s, as it has built up, as there has been greater freedom of the press, as there has been a stronger middle class calling for greater free enterprise and not for rigged markets, so there has been a groundswell of political pressure to clean up the political system. I think that's sustainable. It has now happened over four administrations in Brazil. One of the results that sort of illustrates it is this huge trial that is taking place.

But I think that's sustainable, because the society itself has started to recognize the real benefits of a more open society, greater democracy, more fair business practices—very practical reasons, in other words, and not just the idealism.

But all of this comes against the backcloth of incredible public awareness of corruption, far greater than was the case 20 years ago. The number of scandals that are reported every day, the number of investigations that we are seeing taking place by the media in many, many countries, even in countries where journalists take huge personal risks—and my book is a bit about those heroes, too, because without those people taking those risks, I don't think we would be as advanced as we are.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Another hurdle, at least implicitly, that you take on board here is the notion that, oh, well, corruption is a relatively victimless crime. It's just a question of putting a few dollars in someone's pocket to get the job done, to get the permit, whatever have you.

You make the argument quite convincingly that corruption is not a victimless crime. Crimes of corruption are not abstract issues. Every time an official steals from the public purse, then someone suffers. And, of course, the ultimate extreme of that is that there is a deadly extent when it comes to things like arms trafficking, mineral resources in countries in Africa, and so on, where it's literally a matter of life and death.

FRANK VOGL: It's a very bizarre situation that we have, for example, in the United States. Companies here are prosecuted—and it's a criminal prosecution—for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which says it's a crime to pay a bribe to a foreign government official to get business. U.S. companies are prosecuted. They settle with the Justice Department.

If you read these settlement statements, the final verdicts of judges that have to approve, there's never any mention of the victims. It's as if somehow the only victim was other companies who lost out in business because this company unfairly bribed the granter of the contract. But the average, ordinary citizens in the country where the bribes were paid, who don't have hospitals, don't have schools, don't have sewage, don't have sanitation because the public exchequer has been robbed—they're not even mentioned.

So it was fascinating in the UK last year, when a judge said, "That's enough. We've got to start looking at the victims," and he insisted in one particular case that the fine, which amounted to about $50 million for one company, actually go back to the people of the country from where that money basically was stolen. The UK aid agency was forced to devise a program to use that money, in this case, for education in ways that bypassed the corrupt governments, in order to make sure that the victims, if you will, of corruption really got something back.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Is this, in your opinion, a promising legal precedent?

FRANK VOGL: I think it's tremendously promising. I think over time we're going to see more and more of that. People are going to become more and more conscious of the fact that corruption is not a victimless crime. Let me again give you a practical reason.

Much of my book is about the developing world and Central and Eastern Europe. More Americans are concerned today about corruption in the U.S. political system than ever before. There's a recent Gallup poll that points out that Americans are more concerned about corruption here at home in politics than any other issue except for job creation.

So Americans are understanding that their government is not serving them; rather, it's serving itself. And when you get that here at home in the United States, you are going to get a different type of debate, I think, about corruption that is inevitably going to spill over into how we look at many of these international cases.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Again it's appropriate that you mention this. Having lived in this country for about 40 years, I have had a couple of moments at least when I have just been astonished at either the hubris or stupidity or both surrounding corruption. You will, I'm sure, remember the Abscam scandal back in the 1970s in Philadelphia.

FRANK VOGL: Of course.

DAVID SPEEDIE: I was actually working for the city of Philadelphia at that moment in time. I was commissioner of cultural affairs.

Just for our audience, this involved people quite literally dressing up as Arab sheikhs coming in and putting money literally in the pockets of politicians: cash. I knew a couple of the people involved. They were intelligent men—the president of the city council, the leader of one of the parties in the council—intelligent people caught on camera doing this. And the sums were not that significant—not that that means anything, but it just seemed so bizarre that this would go on.

I now live in New Jersey, where, of course, one of our public officials is hauled off on sort of a weekly basis—

FRANK VOGL: The mayor of Trenton.

DAVID SPEEDIE: The mayor of Trenton is the latest one, Mayor Mack.

FRANK VOGL: It's just the latest.

DAVID SPEEDIE: That's absolutely right. We ought, for the record, by the way, I think, to say that the mayor of Trenton has been indicted, and not convicted yet.

FRANK VOGL: But there is a deeper issue here. I came to the United States just as Watergate was in its final months. I came as a reporter. As you know from the book, I talk a bit about the period after Watergate, when efforts were made to really address corruption in a way that had never been done before in this country.

Since then, we have had more transparency in giving political campaign contributions in this country than in any other country in the world. That was reversed two years ago by the Citizens United case that the Supreme Court approved, where now, in this election, we are seeing more anonymous large-scale donations than ever before. I think the American people in time will become deeply disturbed by the sense that the very idea that individuals may be giving millions of dollars to politicians for their campaigns—we'll never know the names of those individuals, but clearly they must have an agenda for themselves if they are going to do this. That sense that there is some very bad smell to political campaign financing I think in this election will carry forward towards some sort of reform. I hope so.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Yes, because, of course, Citizens United was not dealt with by the Supreme Court in the way that you would—

FRANK VOGL: Unfortunately not. They came down the wrong way.

DAVID SPEEDIE: But clearly super PACs [political action committees] and offshore accounts are playing a role in this election.

FRANK VOGL: Absolutely.

DAVID SPEEDIE: And it's not a 100-mile leap from what you write about here to those issues.

FRANK VOGL: And that's important, because Americans need to understand when we talk about corruption—when I talk about it here or others talk about it—we really are talking about it in almost every country of the world. It takes different forms. It has a different impact. But it is a major universal problem.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Of course, this is not, as you mentioned a few minutes ago in terms of the case in the UK—people tend to regard this as a government, public officials and so on. It's not. It does involve private corporations, too, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Siemens, I think you mentioned at one point, paid over $1 billion in fines.

FRANK VOGL: Yes, $1.6 billion, the largest fines ever paid. My focus here very much is on government officials, politicians taking bribes. But, of course, it's also on the corporations who are the bribe payers in many cases.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Back to the United States for a moment, because this is interesting. As I said before, we discussed, before coming to this interview, Afghanistan and also Pakistan. At the very beginning of the book, you quote a very interesting man, Imran Khan. I suspect we both had some cricket in our past. Imran Khan is, of course, a great Pakistani cricket captain, who is now a charismatic, by all accounts, politician in Pakistan. On the campaign trail—he is a candidate to be the next prime minister of Pakistan—Khan describes "a state of slavery" that is involved in U.S. support to Pakistan. I believe Pakistan is either number two or three in terms of U.S. aid, foreign aid?


DAVID SPEEDIE: Speak to that a little bit, in terms of the U.S. role.

FRANK VOGL: The United States has tried in many different ways to be supportive of Pakistan for many, many years, through military aid, through economic U.S. aid, and through, of course, funding that we know very little about from the Central Intelligence Agency. Pakistanis do not have any sense of benefiting from the tens of billions of dollars of American taxpayer money that over the years have gone into Pakistan. The perception is that the United States is hand-in-glove with corrupt elites in the country who have been ripping off the country, and as a result, the standard of living in that country is absolutely terrible. It's one of the poorest countries in the world, despite all of this aid.

Therefore, the United States is being portrayed popularly by someone like Imran Khan and many others as actually the hand maiden of corruption in Pakistan, the funder of corruption in Pakistan, and as a sort of co-conspirator against the people.

We can go at length into dissecting this kind of inflammatory rhetoric. But there is no question that the opacity of foreign aid inflows into Pakistan creates an enormous problem, not just for Pakistan, but for the United States itself.

I can also tell you that the very brave people who work and lead Transparency International in Pakistan are constantly threatened by authorities and others when they seek to try to introduce some form of public sector contracting monitoring. On the other hand, some civil society groups have been successful. A very small project that the Partnership for Transparency funded for a civil society group in Karachi led to public monitoring of a huge power project in Karachi, which, in the end, because it was public, because it was transparent, saved literally hundreds of millions of dollars in the first contracts. Amazing.

So you can do something in Pakistan. But fundamentally the opacity of aid in very corrupt countries is a huge problem that impacts, I think, global security—not only poverty and human rights, but fundamental issues of security as well.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Another example that I notice one of your country directors mentioned again in the Financial Times this week was about this multi-multimillionaire, Mr. Ivanishvili in Georgia. It, of course, is another example of a strongly U.S.-backed "reformer" Saakashvili, who rode to power on the coattails of an anti-corruption campaign, and things have perhaps not worked out quite as well as we would have hoped in the revolution in Georgia's case.

FRANK VOGL: The reason for writing this book, if I may, was to answer your question. I want people to have a realistic sense of the fight against corruption which is being led by so many brave and courageous people in many countries. It is a very long journey. On the ground a lot of achievements are being made that are not widely recognized beyond their country borders. That's very positive. It augurs very well for the future.

But at the same time, we are going to have, time and time again, populist leaders who, in their campaigns, come out and say, "I'm all against corruption. I'm going to clean it up. It's just the elite ripping you off." These same populists get power and they see the attractiveness of the billions that they can steal and they steal them.

But it is amazing how resilient so many civil society workers are. There is a very active transparency group and many other groups, by the way, in Georgia today. That was not the case 15 years ago. We see it in many other countries.

One of the people who endorsed this book was José Ugaz. He was the prosecutor of Fujimori in Peru. Nobody would have thought 15 years ago that one Latin American state would have extradited a former president to his home country to face corruption charges, as Chile did with Fujimori when they returned him to Peru. People used to think politicians had impunity. You couldn't touch them. Fujimori is in prison.

José Ugaz, when I asked him to review a draft of my book, wrote back and said, "I'd love to, but right now I'm rather preoccupied. They've just found a bomb under my car." Nevertheless, he found time to review the book.

These are amazing people, and they are making a huge difference. Even in Georgia, I think that's the case.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Let's go to what's always the most important part of a book like this and an approach such as this, and that is the "what can be done" question and some of the, as you describe them, shaping solutions. I'll just quote, if I may, a little bit at length from them. You list, I think, five areas of approach.

One is development assistance. I'll just quote this one section, if I may:

Agencies need to undergo a total review of their anti-corruption endeavors. There is an Alice in Wonderland aspect to the good governance approaches of the World Bank and others who provide funds directly to corrupt governments and tell them to use it to clean up their own houses. Civil society must be accepted by aid agencies as a much more serious partner if good governance projects are to work.

You bring in some other areas here, such as addressing the issue of the arms trade, oil, gas, and mining, and the need for securing extractive industries, transparency—that's a problem, as we have discussed, in many countries—money laundering, corporate bribing, and so on and so forth. You have this list.

But I'm particularly interested in development assistance. You worked for the World Bank. One thing that occurred to me is, how are your ideas resonating at that vast bureaucracy? Are you getting some traction in the international financial institutions at this point?

FRANK VOGL: We've still got a long way to go. There have been three phases. The first phase, which I described in the book, was the conversion of the Bank from total opposition to ever even discussing corruption, to accepting that they needed to face the reality of that, that the arguments of this friend of mine, Peter Eigen, were really valid, and that they had to have an anti-corruption program. So they did that. But the rhetoric was far ahead of the actual practice.

The second phase was to look at their own contracting. Everything the World Bank has done has been followed by the other aid agencies. The World Bank really has set precedence here. They really looked at their own internal systems. They have introduced a very tough and, I think, very effective system inside the World Bank so that if there's corruption in World Bank funding by contractors, those contractors could be barred from future funding and exposed and so on.

But they still haven't faced the fundamental issue: whatever the strings and however you think you can police it, you cannot give cash to corrupt governments and tell them, "Use this to end corruption." That is farcical. The political pressures in the Bank all oppose any transfer of real power in the monitoring process of how aid is used to civil society. That's a major issue. There are not enough people campaigning for this. There should be. It should start, for example, in the United States Congress, because they have the leverage that few others do. They are the largest shareholder in the World Bank.

We have to get to a time when there is a really open and candid discussion about the successes of foreign aid and also its failures. I think when there is such a discussion, the solution will not be, "Oh, leave it all to the private sector. Let's get out of the aid business," but rather, how can we bring people on the ground, the citizens of the countries themselves, to a far greater degree, into the process of monitoring the way aid is used?

DAVID SPEEDIE: On that very point, is there at this point any kind of intergovernmental dialogue, any forum in terms of a discussion among the leading aid-giving governments on this issue that you have?

FRANK VOGL: Yes, there is. And it's not just on that. One of the milestones, as it were, the landmarks on that road to gradually turning the corner in the fight against corruption is the fact that the Group of 20, in the last two summits, in the last two years, formulated anti-corruption action plans. Those plans not only cover such issues as money laundering, which is crucial, and the bribery of foreign government officials, but they also look at foreign aid and development assistance programs as well. Because it's the Group of 20, at that very senior level, there is opportunity, as a result, through much more technical official fora, to build on the statements of the action plan and to move that agenda forward.

It's a very slow process. That's the way international bureaucracies and officials work. But it's a process that I'm hopeful will move in the right direction.

DAVID SPEEDIE: In conclusion, you mentioned the gradualism of this. It brought me back to a fairly evocative description you have here: "The anti-corruption movement has reached base camp, but it still has Everest to climb."

That's a pretty formidable future task. I guess my final question would be, in terms of ethical demonstration, ethical example, emulation of how we conduct ourselves in the United States, as well as just practical methodologies, are we providing the right axes, harnesses, and so on and so forth for that climb?

FRANK VOGL: First of all, base camp is 19,000 feet. That's pretty high. We have the top road ahead.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Still a bit of Everest, then.

FRANK VOGL: We have the hardest part of the climb.

I have been enormously impressed by the efforts, just to give you one example—and I'm not being in a campaign mode here or political—by the enormous efforts of Hillary Clinton—mostly fairly quiet efforts from the U.S. publicity point of view—as secretary of state over the last few years, where she has gone to one difficult country after another, insisted on meeting with civil society, insisted on saying to them, "We want to support your anti-corruption pro-democracy efforts." Then she has spoken publicly to governments in many cases and said to them that the United States is extremely sincere about this.

It's a very difficult road. This week the Russians have said to the United States, "You've got to stop using USAID [United States Agency for International Development] to fund civil society groups in Russia, such as Transparency International Russia, and stop getting involved there."

We're going to see, though, I think, that the United States is going to continue to try to find ways to be supportive of these kinds of organizations, without being heavy-handed about it, which is crucial. Very difficult to do, but I think that kind of leadership is very important. It's just one more stone in this whole mosaic that I think is coming into place that makes me quite hopeful. The skeptics about the war on corruption should look at the facts on the ground, think about all of this, and perhaps, as a result, join with us and become campaigners.

DAVID SPEEDIE: Since you raised USAID and Russia, may I ask a devil's advocate question?


DAVID SPEEDIE: At the Council, as I said to you earlier, we try to look at things from the other point of view. I propose the following scenario. Just suppose that in two different situations—let's say in Florida in 2000 during the election—there was a monitoring organization, such as a GOLOS, which has been an operation recently in Russia. Or let's say that we go out to MacArthur Park or down to Lower Manhattan and join the demonstrators, and we find out that these are organizations that are funded by Russian government funding. How would we react, not only in the U.S. Congress, but among the general public? Here were demonstrations against U.S. institutions, U.S. practices, U.S. elections, funded by Moscow.

FRANK VOGL: We would have to understand that we live in a highly interconnected global world. These old prejudices—oh, boy, this could be the big reds and the communists of Russia subverting us—are all nonsense today. What we should insist upon—and I think the Russians should insist upon it—is full transparency when it comes to funding all these kinds of organizations, full accountability. The organizations that are funding these organizations need to be accountable. Their books need to be open so people can see what is being done.

If we have the transparency and the accountability, then, in my view, anybody should be able to join in and publicly contribute if the result is greater public education and public information.

I know you were being devil's advocate. I think it would shock some people, sure. But we live in this highly interconnected world. The borders are coming down. The fascinating thing is that when you meet with groups from all over the world, as I do at the Transparency International annual meeting, these people exchange information and knowledge constantly. That's how they learn and gain strength.

So I'm not the slightest bit worried about that. I am terribly worried, however, that the Russian government, in an attempt to clamp down on all sorts of vocal opposition, is using this, amongst many other tools, to curb civil society in that country.

DAVID SPEEDIE: We could continue with whether this is a quid pro quo for the so-called pending Magnitsky legislation and so on and so forth in Congress. You have said yourself that we are not always the most transparent when it comes to sources and application of funding overseas. It's an imperfect world.

I commend you for your efforts, both as co-founder of Transparency International and the Partnership for Transparency Fund, and also for the new book, Waging War on Corruption. Frank Vogl, thank you for being our guest today at the Carnegie Council.

FRANK VOGL: A great pleasure. Thank you.

You may also like

MAR 18, 2022 Podcast

Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy, with Erich Schwartzel

Hollywood has long been part of the United States' soft power arsenal. Now, that soft power is threatened by the larger geostrategic competition between the ...

FEB 28, 2022 Podcast

Russia Invades Ukraine: A Principled Response

Russia's invasion of Ukraine raises several ethical questions: Why did diplomacy fail? What does the invasion mean for the principle of sovereignty? Are sanctions an ...

President Biden at the White House, March 2021. <br>CREDIT: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/51033292536/">Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz</a> (<a href="https://www.usa.gov/government-works">U.S. Government Works</a>)

MAR 25, 2021 Article

Grappling with Competing Ethical Demands: The New Biden Administration

Any leader faces competing ethical demands. In particular, policymakers must decide which ethical claims to preference and which to defer. In this blog post from ...

Not translated

This content has not yet been translated into your language. You can request a translation by clicking the button below.

Request Translation