On April 21, 2021 House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved the Countering Russian and Other Overseas Kleptocracy Act (“CROOK Act”). The CROOK Act, which was introduced in the U.S. House in January by Reps. Bill Keating (D-MA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), would impose a new penalty on the most egregious violators of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act—the U.S.’s leading law against foreign bribery—and invest the proceeds of those penalties into programs that fight corruption overseas.
Scott Greytak, Director of Advocacy for Transparency International’s U.S. Office (TI-US), said the following on the passage of the bill: “Bribery and other forms of corruption undermine the rule of law and lead to the decay of democratic institutions. We see this in every region of the world. Countries like Honduras and Ukraine have fallen to autocratic leadership, in part, because there were insufficient resources to fully and effectively support those who would stand up and fight back. In many cases, social and economic chaos follow, creating instability, economic hardship, and refugee crises”.