Global Corruption and the Pandemic: Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

Published May 14, 2020

The U.S. Department of State would like to issue a small grant ($1,000,000) to someone who will design and implement a plan to combat corruption relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.  (Think about it:  That’s truly tiny given the size of the problem.  But, perhaps, it’s a start.)

The Department summarizes its concern this way:

Corruption in particular thrives during times of crisis and makes governments and the international community less able to respond swiftly and effectively. Governments and international donors are now providing unprecedented sums of money to support COVID-19 response efforts, sometimes without necessary anti-corruption safeguards. Emergency procurement processes and the suspension of oversight measures in many cases are further heightening corruption risks. This is providing new opportunities for corrupt government officials and criminal organizations to enrich themselves at the expense of public health, as well as raising the potential for public officials to become involved in bribery and corruption….


The Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (“DRL”) “seeks a project to enhance transparency and empower civil society and media to monitor and promote accountability of government responses to COVID-19.  A competitive applicant will be able to work across multiple countries with a consortium of civil society organizations, media entities, and anti-corruption advocates to support enhanced transparency and accountability in public procurement processes….”

(One wonders if combating corruption in the public procurement processes of the State of Illinois might be eligible for coverage in the project, but one suspects that Madiganistan is territory that is too foreign even for the United States Department of State.)

The State Department’s request for competitive proposals is set forth in full here.

Meanwhile, the same day that the Department of State issued its request for competitive proposals for fighting corruption in worldwide COVID-19 pandemic procurement and other activities Foreign Policy magazine trumpeted an article, “We Can’t Stop the Coronavirus Unless We Stop Corruption”.

Perhaps the seriousness of purpose of the Foreign Policy article is undermined by its attack on, of all people, Viktor Orban and the Government of Hungary, and its silence on the behavior of the Communist Government of China and its lackeys at the World Health Organization.

Be forewarned:  When Foreign Policy refers to “emergency power grabs”, it isn’t referring to Governor Pritzker’s endless cycle of 30-day emergency proclamations in Illinois.  Pity, that.

Even so, as the philosopher Rahm Emanuel once said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”  And while that advice has been taken to heart by his fellow thugs and kleptocrats in all countries, there is no reason why it should not be heeded by fraud-fighters, too.

The article is here.