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A Promising Moment
September 21st, 2011
Today, at the United Nations in New York City, President Obama inaugurated the Open Government Partnership (OGP) with Brazil, the co-chair. The OGP is a global effort to improve governance worldwide through transparency and accountability—two principals that many members of this Task Force have argued for persuasively for many years. To become a member of OGP, countries must adopt an Open Government Declaration, deliver a country action plan, and commit to independent reporting. As of today, eight countries have joined the OGP: Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, and—the relentless crusader for anticorruption and better...
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Something Doesn’t Add Up
May 18th, 2011
If companies were people and those who violated the laws were criminals, then BAE Systems would be a repeat offender. Actually I’m not sure repeat offender even begins to cover it. Here’s some background. BAE Systems is a defense contractor with products and services for air, land, and naval forces, including electronics, intelligence, weapons, among many others. It’s a British company, but over half of its $12 billion annual sales in its land and armaments business is with the United States. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, BAE is the largest armaments company in the...
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OECD gives U.S. FCPA a pat on the back
October 21st, 2010
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently evaluated the United States on its effectiveness in implementing the goals and standards outlined by the Anti-Bribery Convention. The sizeable OECD report overall applauds the U.S. for its current efforts and offers a few areas for improvement. First, some background. The U.S. foreign anti-bribery laws are outlined by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which Jimmy Carter signed into law on December 19, 1977. The FCPA makes it unlawful for persons and entities to “make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining...
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China’s Currency Skirmish
October 14th, 2010
There’s been a lot of chatter about the yuan lately. Well, honestly there’s been a lot of chatter about the yuan for a lot of years. For over a decade, China pegged the yuan, which is the basic unit of the Chinese currency called the renminbi (yes—confusing), to the U.S. dollar. The Chinese government sets its ideal exchange rate by buying foreign exchange with yuan, thereby increasing the number of yuan per dollars in the global market. This keeps the ratio of yuan to dollars high, which means the exchange rate is artificially low (again—confusing—no...
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