New Report Reveals That Americans Think White House Is Most Corrupt Institution, with Congress Not Far Behind


December 13, 2017

Transparency International’s 2017 U.S. Corruption Barometer: Confidence Slipping in U.S. Institutions, but People Still Hopeful of Change, Says OTG

WASHINGTON – Open The Government, a leading advocate for transparency to promote government accountability, discussed a new report today by Transparency International. The “2017 U.S. Corruption Barometer” shed light on contemporary attitudes about government, including a disturbing trend: Americans are losing faith in our governing institutions, especially the Executive Branch and Congress.

However, there is a silver lining: Americans are not yet cynical to the point where they feel hope is lost, and believe that confidence can be restored. One key to reversing the trend is increasing openness and transparency in government.

“The results of this report present both a challenge and an opportunity,” said Open The Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg, at The National Press Club this morning. “The challenge is the decreasing trust in government and the belief corruption is on the rise in the U.S. The opportunity is that with almost ¾ of people thinking they can make a difference fighting corruption, we know we can reach across partisan divides to find a solution.”


Rosenberg joined Transparency International and a coalition of organizations at the National Press Club for the report’s release. According to the results:

  • 44 percent of Americans believe that corruption is pervasive in the White House, up from 36 percent in 2016.
  • Almost 7 out of 10 people believe the government is failing to fight corruption, up from half in 2016.
  • Close to a third of African-Americans surveyed see the police as highly corrupt, compared to a fifth across the survey overall.
  • 55 percent gave fear of retaliation as the main reason not to report corruption, up from 31 per cent in 2016.
  • 74 percent said ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

Corruption is like a fungus that grows in dark corners and shadows,” said OTG’s Lisa Rosenberg. “By increasing access to information, we take away the conditions that allow corruption to spread.”

Open The Government is a Washington-based non-partisan coalition of good-and-limited government groups, environmentalists, journalists, library and consumer groups, labor, and others united to make the federal government a more open place in order to ensure integrity and accountability in the operation of our governing institutions, foster confidence in representative government, and support our democratic principles.