U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Chris Murphy (D-CT), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote a letter to Romanian Prime Minister Dancila expressing concerns about the firing of the Chief Prosecutor of Romania’s anti-corruption agency, and urging her government to continue the progress it has made fighting corruption.
A copy of the letter is available here and below:
August 2, 2018
Dear Prime Minister Dancila,
We are writing today regarding Romania’s ongoing fight against corruption. As strong supporters of the U.S.-Romania relationship, we noted with regret that President Klaus Iohannis was recently forced by a court ruling to dismiss Laura Codruta Kovesi, the Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate. While the judicial process is an internal matter, we urge the Romanian government not to retreat in the important fight against corruption.
Ms. Kovesi’s leadership at the Anti-Corruption Directorate was recognized around the world as a testament to Romania’s strong commitment to fighting corruption. Her firing, together with recent judicial reforms and proposed legislation to decriminalize certain corruption offenses, raises troubling questions about your government’s willingness to prosecute financial crimes and hold high-level officials accountable.
Improving transparency and accountability is an urgent national security imperative for all members of the NATO Alliance. Ukraine’s experience is a clear example of how Russia uses bribery and corruption to weaken neighboring governments and make them vulnerable to external influence – or in extreme cases, military invasion. Russia and its proxies are involved in an active effort to undermine our collective resolve and tarnish the reputation of democracy in order to protect Vladimir Putin’s hold on power. Allied nations must be vigilant against these threats and safeguard the integrity of our institutions.
Romania has made extraordinary progress since the communist era. No democracy is perfect, but previous concrete efforts to root out corruption assured us that Romania was on a positive trajectory. Recent demonstrations by thousands of young Romanians show that they expect that progress to continue.
We appreciate your personal commitment to fulfilling these aspirations, and look forward to learning how your government plans to reinvigorate the fight against corruption.