Sometimes TI’s cynicism and hypocrisy is truly astonishing. Released yesterday, Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report appears with much fanfare on the TI website and next to it this quote from the chair of the Soros-funded organization: “Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems.”
Get that? TI – that stands for transparency – is losing sleep over the “undue influence” that “big money” exerts on our political systems. The Soros web of organizations spends millions around the world – less than transparent and lacking any democratic mandate – determined to do exactly that: exert influence on politics. Do you suppose the TI chair said that with a straight face?
This latest edition of the index places Hungary – along with Bulgaria and Romania – “at the bottom of the region,” among the worst performers in the European Union. Why? “Several countries, including Hungary, Poland and Romania,” the report reads, “have taken steps to undermine judicial independence, which weakens their ability to prosecute cases of high-level corruption.” What could they possibly be referring to here? I don’t know because they offered nothing to support that claim against Hungary. If Transparency International says so, it must be true.
But here’s where it gets absurd. TI knocks Hungary down a few points on the CPI scale for alleged “steps to undermine judicial independence,” but when journalists are murdered for investigating government-related corruption scandals, not so much. I’m not kidding: Both Malta (50th) and Slovakia (59th) score way ahead of Hungary (70th), alongside “exemplary,” “well-functioning” countries like Senegal (66), Namibia (56) and Saudi Arabia (51). Speaking of journalists, it seems the crack analysts at TI haven’t heard that horrific story about what happened in a certain embassy in Ankara.
On Malta, TI has this to say: “It’s no wonder that two years after the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed while reporting on corruption, the country is still mired in corruption.” Thank you for that valuable insight, TI.
Meanwhile, this slanted report completely disregards some key, corruption-related areas in which Hungary has come a long way since 2010. Public procurement tenders, for example, have been fully transparent since 2010. While the ratio of procurement tenders won by Hungarian small and medium sized enterprises rose from 39 percent to 58 percent over the last ten years, 87 out of every 100 tenders in Hungary were one by both domestic and foreign SMEs. The number of procurement tenders with a single participant fell from 34 percent to 25.5 percent, with unannounced tenders seeing a 92 percent drop to a level that is half of the EU average.
Some would argue that the index carries little weight, to which I would agree. But just wait and see how many write about Hungary over the next year, citing this CPI ranking and its claims as if it were an objective, credible source.
But for those who take the time to scrutinize their findings and methodology – which “capture[s] perceptions of corruption” – it’s difficult to take them seriously. I’m pleased to hear, however, that they’re worried about the undue influence of big money on politics.