White House publishes Memorandum on Establishing the Fight Against Corruption as a Core United States National Security Interest.

On June 3, 2021, the White House published a Memorandum on Establishing the Fight Against Corruption as a Core United States National Security Interest (“Memorandum”), which outlines a presidential policy, strategy and interagency review on the matter.

According to the Memorandum, signed by United States President Joe Biden (“Joe Biden”), corruption threatens the national security of the United States, as well as democracy itself and global economic development.

In the Memorandum, Joe Biden commits to (i) promoting good governance; (ii) transparency in U.S. and global financial systems; (iii) preventing and combating domestic and international corruption; and (iv) making it increasingly difficult for corrupt actors to shield their activities.

The Memorandum calls for an interagency review process, which is a technical cooperation mechanism among U.S. agencies to develop a coordinated national strategy to fight corruption.  

According to the Memorandum, when the interagency review process is implemented, it will bolster the: (i) combating of all forms of illicit financing in the United States and international financial systems; (ii) civil and criminal accountability of corrupt individuals, transnational criminal organizations, and their facilitators; (iii) capacity of domestic and international institutions and multilateral bodies focused on establishing global anti-corruption norms, asset recovery, financial transparency, combating money laundering and bribery, including, where possible, addressing the demand side of bribery; (iv) promote partnerships with the private sector, civil society and media to advocate for anti-corruption and investigative measures; and (v) establish best practices and enforcement mechanisms such that foreign assistance and security cooperation activities have built-in corruption prevention measures. 

The Memorandum also highlights that the interagency review shall consider the recommendations of expert studies and include representatives of several agencies and offices, including the Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, among others.

The Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, in coordination with the Assistants to the President for Economic Policy and for Domestic Policy shall lead the interagency review process activities, which shall be completed and submitted to Joe Biden by December 20, 2021.