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State Department announces lead anti-corruption official

The State Department on Tuesday tapped nuclear arms and sanctions expert Richard Nephew as its new coordinator combating corruption on the global stage.

The announcement, released via a statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken to mark global anti-corruption day, serves to “elevate the fight against corruption across all aspects of U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance.”

“Creating and filling this position demonstrates the importance the United States places on anti-corruption as a core national security interest and reiterates the central role global partnerships play in this fight,” Blinken said.

The role was created ahead of the 2021 White House Summit for Democracy where President Joe Biden sounded the alarm on a global democratic decline.

“Democracy doesn’t happen by accident,” the president said in a statement at the Summit. “We have to renew it with each generation. And this is an urgent matter on all our parts, in my view. Because the data we’re seeing is largely pointing in the wrong direction.”

Nephew’s position marks a return to the State Department, where he previously worked as a deputy special envoy for Iran and as principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy.