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  • The Trump administration has attracted attention for allegations of corruption.
  • But Trump has only been president since 2016, and recent scandals show the taint runs much deeper.
  • Corruption is relatively low in the US, but its growing prevalence threatens its reputation and the political stability Americans have so long enjoyed, argues Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt.
If they’ve been paying attention, Americans have received some rude wake-up calls in recent years. What unpleasant news do these messages convey? The country is a lot more corrupt than Americans realized.

Since 2016, of course, concern for corruption has been riveted on the sleaze show that is the Trump administration. As the New York Times revealed last fall in a remarkable investigative report, US President Donald Trump’s life since boyhood has rested on assorted frauds, tax scams, and shady business dealings, and his recent conduct suggests high office did not alter the family’s modus operandi.

Since becoming president, Trump has breezily ignored the emoluments clause of the Constitution, handed taxpayers amultimillion-dollar bill for his frequent trips to his own properties, appointed his daughter and son-in-law to sensitive positions for which they are manifestly unqualified, and surrounded himself with a host of shady characters.

Instead of fulfilling his campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” Trump dug it wider and filled it deeper. Small wonder that the United States has fallen out of the ranks of the top 20 “least corrupt” nations—according to the watchdog group Transparency International—and is now considered a “country to watch” by that nonpartisan organization. Continue reading Corruption in the U.S.