National Association of Attorneys General
International Fellows Program Focused on Battling Public Corruption
Twenty-two government attorneys from 17 countries participated in the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute’s (NAGTRI) annual International Fellows program, June 2-10. Attorneys from Australia, Bosnia, Canada, Hungary, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Philippines, Qatar, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States arrived in Washington, D.C., to learn about and discuss strategies for battling public corruption and strengthening public integrity.
The program kicked off with a welcome reception at the Maryland home of Chris Toth, NAGTRI director and NAAG deputy executive director. NAGTRI is the research and training arm of NAAG.
“This program provided a unique opportunity for the Fellows to learn from one another and develop common strategies to deal with the universal and socially-debilitating problem of public corruption,” Toth said. “As the world shrinks, the need for sharing perspectives and increasing cooperation across borders grows.”
After the Fellows enjoyed a quick tour of Washington, D.C., they spent a full day learning about NAAG as well as hearing from leading public corruption experts. Ronald Goldstock, commissioner for the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and former director of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force was the first guest speaker. The Fellows were also given the opportunity to interact with other distinguished guest speakers during a panel discussion facilitated by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers; Jack Smith, chief of the Public Integrity Section at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); and Paul O’Brien, director of the Office of Enforcement Operations Criminal Division at DOJ. Jack Smith and Paul O’Brien, along with Jeff Lavine, a partner in the Financial Services Regulatory Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, lectured on various topics including money laundering and the use of electronic surveillance. Attorney General Suthers concluded the day with an interactive group discussion of a sample public corruption dilemma.
These presentations provided the foundation for the Fellows to start their group work to discuss four different aspects of public corruption and solutions that countries might adopt to help combat the crime. Throughout the week, the individual groups met, discussed, and began to compile their recommendations on police corruption, corporate corruption, legislative corruption, and elected and senior appointed officials’ corruption.
In a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, he commended the Fellows on their dedication to fighting public corruption and charged each to continue the fight in their home countries. They then received a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol and met with former Rhode Island Attorney General and now U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Journeying from the Capitol to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fellows were given an overview of the U.S. judicial system by the Clerk of the Supreme Court William Suter. In the evening, the participants enjoyed a taste of American culture by attending a Washington Nationals baseball game.
On their last day in Washington, DC, Fellows were briefed by Merly Khouw, senior investigator and regional team leader for East Asia Pacific at the World Bank; Marko Tomicic, manager of projects at Global Integrity; Mary D. Rodriguez, principal deputy director in Office of International Affairs at DOJ; and Nancy Boswell, former president and chief executive officer of Transparency International. These presentations gave the Fellows the last bit of substantive information to finalize their group papers. The Fellows then boarded a train and headed to New York City to finish out the program. After a sobering tour of Ground Zero, they journeyed to New York University Law School where attendees presented the papers they developed throughout the week. Jim Tierney, former Maine Attorney General and director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, and Ronald Goldstock, helped to moderate the discussion.
After an evening in New York City and enjoying the classic Broadway musical, “Anything Goes,” the Fellows participated in a graduation ceremony and closing dinner. Reviews of this second International Fellows program have been overwhelmingly positive. One U.S. participant said, “Since I have returned from the training your group organized and conducted, I have told anyone who will listen, including my boss, how terrific the training institute at NAAG is, and how much I enjoyed both the substance and the format of the training I completed in June.”
Fellows participating in the program were Cameron Leonard from Alaska, Lloyd Babb from Australia, Mirza Hukeljic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Melissa Mandel from California, Jennifer MacLellan from Canada, Stephen ImMasche from Florida, Laszlo Miskolci from Hungary, Brian Kane from Idaho, Maxine Jackson for Jamaica, Gulnura Toleeva from Kyrgyzstan, Jovan Ilievski from Macedonia, Steven Kayuni from Malawi, Rakesh Patel from Maryland, Juan Carlos Buenrostro Molina from Mexico, Ganzorig Gombosuren from Mongolia, William Schaeffer from New York, Justine Falconer from New Zealand, Louella Mae Pesquera from the Philippines, Firas Al hadithi from Qatar, Yi Tsung Wu from Taiwan, Chatchom Akapin from Thailand, and David Robinson from United Kingdom. The program was largely funded through the NAAG Mission Foundation, with additional funding from the Alliance Partnership.
The papers developed for this program will be made published in future NAAGazette issues as well as posted to the NAGTRI website, http://www.naag.org/nagtri-courses.php. NAGTRI staff is already planning its third international program for next year.