For the first time in the history of modern Mexican democracy a credible, relevant, and effective anticorruption legal infrastructure exists. It holds Mexican politicians accountable and keeps them honest from the get-go, all thanks to Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (IMCO)’s revolutionary “3for3” campaign. As of July 18, 2017, it is required by law that every politician must publish his or her declarations of assets, taxes paid, and possible conflicts of interest. This comes as the result of an intensive two-year campaign launched and led by IMCO, in which they raised 634,143 signatures – five times the number required – to introduce the “3for3” (3de3) framework to the Mexican Congress for consideration of its passage into law. As a result of IMCO’s project, for the first time, corruption is categorized as a crime in Mexico. Mexico’s brand is intrinsically linked to corruption, but IMCO’s successful “3for3” campaign has given the people of Mexico hope that this might actually come to an end.
Mexico has a long and troubled history with its government following its own laws, especially concerning graft and bribery. Businesses pay anywhere between 25 and 67 percent in corruption-related costs while the average Mexican family loses roughly 14 percent of its monthly income to corruption and 30 percent of the income of families living on minimum wage is spent on bribes, illegal fees, and other such graft.
With such an unacceptable status quo, in 2015 IMCO launched a coalition between academia and civil society to develop and publicize a new General Law of Administrative Responsibilities, or “Ley 3de3” (3for3 Law), which establishes a legal obligation for all public servants to provide annual declarations of their assets, taxes paid, and possible conflicts of interest. The government allowed them to proceed with this proposal as a citizen initiative but required that IMCO amass 120,000 signed citizen petitions.
IMCO was heavily involved in the law-making process despite numerous institutional roadblocks, with members of its team offering Congressional testimony regularly. Floor proceedings discussing the anticorruption initiative were also conducted under “Open Parliament” principles resulting from popular demand and allowed civil society representatives to defend the initiative whereas they would typically be prohibited from doing so under normal procedures. The momentum of the massively supported 3for3 campaign created an urgency that dominated the legislative agenda.
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