Task Force Blog

Posts by Ryan Isakow

About the Author:

Ryan Isakow, a student at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, is a communications intern at Global Financial Integrity in Washington, DC.

Is Corruption an Advertising Problem?

August 4, 2011

An explosion of anti-corruption protests this month saw effigies burnt in India, hundreds protesting in Russia, and mass riots in China. As tensions rise, the focus of the anti-corruption debate has begun to shift. Instead of seeing corruption as hurtful because it destroys the environment, weakens governments, and harms the poor, some governments have begun to see corruption as hurtful because of its economic consequences.

A recent Moscow Times article by Anders Aslund incorporates this shift in thinking. Claiming corruption is so pervasive that investments to increase productivity are virtually impossible, Aslund writes: “Russia cannot build public infrastructure because standard kickbacks are about 50 percent, and infrastructure, especially roads, are now becoming absolute bottlenecks.” Corruption has progressed to the point that any kind of investment is futile, meaning that sustainable or diversified growth is impossible. Borrowing costs skyrocket, foreign investment is scared away, and the country stagnates. The language the article uses in describing corruption is itself revealing (emphasis mine):

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Thursday’s Daily News Digest

August 4, 2011

Paying for the revolution
Executive Magazine, August 3, 2011

Did mass killer Breivik have money links to Bermuda?
BDA Sun, August 3, 2011

California amnesty program for tax dodgers
San Francisco Chronicle, August 4, 2011

Treasury backs Senate fight against shell corporations
The Hill, August 3, 2011

Jersey considers strengthening money laundering laws
BBC, August 3, 2011

Tax haven FDI to face tough scrutiny
The Financial Express, August 4, 2011

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Wednesday’s Daily News Digest

August 3, 2011

On the Trail of the Fugitive Who Blew the Cover on Global Tax Evasion
Worldcrunch, August 3, 2011

Bank-backed House lawmakers try to kill IRS plan to identify $1 trillion in foreign accounts
iWatch, August 1, 2011

For Italy, Political Farce Could Descend Into Financial Tragedy
New York Times, August 2, 2011

Are we heading for a second global financial crisis?
The Guardian, August 3, 2011

News Corp. Can Relax About Corrupt-Practices Act: The Ticker
Bloomberg, August 2, 2011

Shadowy shell companies targeted by US Senate bill
Reuters, August 2, 2011

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Levin, Grassley Introduce Bill to Combat U.S. Corporations with Hidden Owners

August 2, 2011

WASHINGTON – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, this week introduced the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act to combat acts of terrorism, money laundering, tax evasion, and other wrongdoing facilitated by U.S. corporations with hidden owners. The bill would end the practice of the 50 States forming corporations for unidentified persons, and instead require the States to obtain the identities of the persons behind the corporations.

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Full implementation of reforms key to success of Greek programme, says OECD report

August 2, 2011

PARIS – Greece’s ambitious programme to tackle its economic crisis can succeed in rebuilding growth, jobs and living standards if the reforms are fully implemented, according to a new OECD report.

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Tuesday’s Daily News Digest

August 2, 2011

Special Report: China’s shortcut to Wall Street
Reuters, August 2, 2011

Pair admit guilt in Afghan bribery case
Star Advertiser, August 2, 2011

Report highlights Island’s role in US tax avoidance
The Royal Gazette, August 2, 2011

Swiss and Germans ‘to sign tax evasion deal’
AFP, August 1, 2011

US citizen? The IRS is after you….
Globes, August 1, 2011

CORRECTED-S.Africa may reopen arms deal probe, pressuring Zuma
Reuters, August 1, 2011

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Thursday’s Daily News Digest

July 28, 2011

The best way to manage Tunisia?
Financial Times, July 28, 2011

Delay in safe harbour rules increasing confrontation between IT firms & taxman
The Economic Times, July 28, 2011

RBS warned by regulators over US operations
BBC, July 27, 2011

Small Businesses Demand Debt Deal Address Corporate Tax Dodging
Huffington Post, July 27, 2011

Insight: Microsoft use of low-tax havens drives down tax bill
Reuters, July 27, 2011

Bribery fallout sinks £5-note deal
The Age, July 28, 2011

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Tuesday’s Daily News Digest

July 26, 2011

Cash-for-vote scandal: SP, BJP MPs questioned
IANS, July 25, 2011

Money vanishing into thin air
Livemint.com, July 26, 2011

Stolen State Money: Trillions Lost Annually, Only Billions Have Been Recovered
Huffington Post, July 25, 2011

US unveils sanctions against global organized crime
Reuters, July 25, 2011

East Africa: Ministries Bribing MPs is Beyond Farce
allAfrica.com, July 25, 2011

Bribing protesters a form of corruption
Daily Nation, July 25, 2011

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USAID Supports Strong Cardin-Lugar/1504 Rules in Letter to SEC

July 22, 2011

Assistant Administrator Eric Postel of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has sent a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) supporting Section 1504, or the Cardin-Lugar provision, of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. The “Publish What You Pay” provision, which has been significantly delayed, requires energy and mining companies registered with the SEC to report payments to foreign governments for the extraction of oil, gas, and minerals on a country-by-country basis.  Commenting on the positive effects of country-by-country reporting, Postel writes:

“Our overarching belief is that the enforcement of the proposed rules contributes towards U.S. Government foreign policy goals of supporting stable and democratic governments, with a particular emphasis on USAID’s role in providing assistance to  resource-rich countries in support of economic growth, good governance, transparency, and building civil society.”

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Thursday’s Daily News Digest

July 21, 2011

News Corp. Hires Same Law Firm Leading U.S. Chamber Campaign To Weaken Anti-Bribery Law
Thinkprogress, July 20, 2011

News Corp. Board Hires Mukasey, Other FCPA Big Guns
Just Anti-Corruption, July 20, 2011

Certain amount of bribe giving can be made legal: Murthy
Press Trust of India, July 20, 2011

Without corruption, GDP growth would be in double digits: Murthy
Press Trust of India, July 20, 2011

Murdoch’s Dirty Deeds Don’t Come Cheap
Huffington Post, July 21, 2011

Afghanistan Is Hampering US Efforts To Help Improve AML In The Country
Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2011

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Tuesday’s Daily News Digest

July 19, 2011

Free trade is not what Africa needs, Mr Cameron
The Guardian, July 19, 2011

Only people’s power can end graft: Gurumurthy
Express Buzz, July 19, 2011

Germany aims at Swiss banks over tax dodgers –report
Reuters, July 19, 2011

India Sees Growth Imperiled With Greek-Like Tax Evasion
Bloomberg, July 19, 2011

Central Bank steps up fight against money laundering
Business Daily, July 19, 2011

India tweaking laws to check money laundering
Rediff Business, July 19, 2011

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Bursting the Myths about Tax Havens

July 14, 2011

Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK, a coordinating committee member of the Task Force, has released a new report on tax haven abuse on behalf of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), War on Want, and the Tax Justice Network. The report examines the effects of tax havens on tax collection, financial stability, corruption and poverty. In addition, it looks at the consequences of secrecy laws in tax havens on the international financial system. The report expresses concern over the direction tax law is moving in, stating:

PCS wishes to draw attention to the massively worrying trends in UK taxation, all put in place since 2009, which mean that far from tackling tax haven activity, the UK Government is now actively encouraging such activity on the part of multinational corporations based in the UK. Furthermore, because of the international tax agreements it has reached with them, it is also actively promoting the use of the financial services industry in both Switzerland and Liechtenstein for tax avoidance and evasion purposes.

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