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US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world

The U.S. ranks as the 27th least corrupt nation in the world, well ahead of adversaries such as Russia and North Korea but behind allies such as France, Norway and Japan, according to an annual list released Tuesday by Transparency International.

The organization measures 180 countries and territories in its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Nations are scored on a scale ranging from zero, meaning most corrupt, to 100, meaning very clean.

For 2021, Transparency International gave the U.S. a score of 67, falling from a recent high of 76 in 2015. Factors in its 2021 score included the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and campaign finance laws.

“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,” researchers wrote.

The U.S. first dropped to a score of 67 in 2020, marking its lowest ever recorded. Chile also has a score of 67 and tied with the U.S. for the No. 27 spot in this year’s report. 

Nations with higher scores include Denmark (88), the United Kingdom (78) and Hong Kong (76).

At the bottom are countries such as North Korea (16), Iran (25), China (45) and Russia (29).

The global average CPI score remains at 43, where it has stood for 10 years straight. Transparency International said the COVID-19 pandemic has been used as an “excuse to curtail basic freedoms and side-step important checks and balances” and cited increasing restrictions on civil liberties in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

“In authoritarian contexts where control rests with a few, social movements are the last remaining check on power,” said Daniel Eriksson, the CEO of the organization, in a statement. “It is the collective power held by ordinary people from all walks of life that will ultimately deliver accountability.”

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