The U.S. has fallen out of the 25 least corrupt counties for the first time, according to a new Corruption Perception study from Transparency International.

The study’s index ranks countries from 0 (corrupt) to 100 (very clean) based on the Corruption Perceptions Index. The index measures levels of corruption experts and business people perceive in each countries’ private sector. In their study, the U.S. earned 67 points, tied with Chile, which was good for ranking 27th in the least corrupt countries. The U.S. has been trending downward in the study since 2015. Six years ago, the country came in at 76, but it was down to 67 by 2020, which is where it stayed in 2021.

Transparency International explained the U.S.’s ranking on their website.

“The United States (US) remains stuck at an all-time low of 67 points,” they wrote. “President (Joe) Biden’s administration has established corruption as a core national security concern. Last year, the US Congress passed legislation requiring companies to provide information about their beneficial owners to a central bureau, to be created in 2022. This measure could significantly enhance the US authorities’ ability to detect and investigate financial crimes. Even so, the country’s lack of progress on the CPI can be explained by the persistent attacks against free and fair elections, culminating in a violent assault on the US Capitol, and an increasingly opaque campaign finance system.”


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The group that performs the study, Transparency International, is a nonprofit organization that works to end worldwide corruption through research and advocacy.

Among the least corrupt countries included Denmark, New Zealand and Finland who tied for first, totaling 88 points. South Sudan bottomed out the study at 11.

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