The latest report from watchdog group Transparency International said the United States fell four points lower on its global corruption index in 2018, dropping out of the top 20 countries for the first time since 2011 under the administration of President Donald Trump, according to Deutsche Welle.
But Transparency International said there was a global failure to control growing corruption.
“With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe — often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies — we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights,” said Patricia Moreira, managing director of Transparency International.
The annual report is compiled based on the perceptions of public sector corruption and grades countries on a scale of zero to 100 with zero meaning “highly corrupt” and 100 meaning “very clean.”
Denmark was the top country with 88 points, while New Zealand finished in second with 87 points.
The top ten was then rounded out with Finland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, Canada, Luxembourg, Germany, and Britain.
The countries with the highest levels of corruption included war-torn Somalia at 10 points, and South Sudan and Syria which both had 13 points.
The score is based on data compiled from 13 surveys with a minimum of three different sources required for a country’s average to be assessed and included from several institutions including: the African Development Bank, the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, Global Insight, the International Institute for Management Development, the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, the PRS Group, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the World Justice Project and Varieties of Democracy.
Zoe Reiter, the watchdog’s acting representative to the United States, said the list was a “wake-up call” about the need to confront corruption in the U.S.
“This is a red flag because it’s really part of a pattern that we’ve seen since the 2008 global financial crisis of a loss of trust … in our public institutions,” she said. “People don’t see us as having adequate mechanisms in place to fight corruption and ensure the accountability of our elected officials.”
This year’s report revealed two-thirds of the 180 countries scored less than 50 out of a possible 100, with the average score from all countries being only 43.
The report highlighted important growth in fighting the perception of corruption, including Argentina, the Ivory Coast, and Guyana.
While sixteen others, including Australia, Chile, and Malta, significantly declined.
Hungary’s score also dropped by eight points to only 46 over the past five years, which TI said was due to the forced departure of philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and the Central European University.