For the first time ever, the US has fallen out of the top 20 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, thanks to financial scandals and the growing influence of money in our politics, Reuters reports. The US is now seen as the 22nd-least-corrupt country in the world, down from 19th last year. That puts it in third place in the Americas, behind Chile (21), Barbados (17), and Canada (6).
“We’re not talking about corruption in the sense of breaking the law,” said TI’s president in the US. “We’re talking about a sense that the system is corrupted” by outside money, and that regulatory oversight is weak and easily bought off. “There’s an integrity gap.” Incidentally, the lowest-ranked country in the 178-nation index was Somalia, with Afghanistan and Myanmar tied for second-worst, and Iraq right behind them. Top honors, on the other hand, were shared by Denmark, New Zealand, and Singapore. (Read more corruption stories.)