The United States last year slid down the rankings of a global corruption index as America's system of checks and balances faced growing threats under Donald Trump's watch, Transparency International said on Tuesday January 29th.
As reported by AFP, the US lost four points to score 71 out of 100 on the watchdog's 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, sending the country tumbling out of the top 20 for the first time since 2011.
"The low score comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power," TI said in its annual report.
The second year of Trump's presidency was a turbulent one, ranging from damaging revelations in an investigation probing links between Trump's 2016 campaign team and Russia, to his controversial backing for a Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual assault.
The US leader, who frequently rails against the media for writing "fake news", was also dogged by accusations of nepotism and conflicts of interest.
Transparency International issues an annual report measuring perceptions of graft rather than actual levels given the secrecy surrounding most corrupt dealings. The Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.