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Selfish Foreign Policy Reasons, Not Altruism, Is Why Congress Enacted The FCPA In 1977


As the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act nears its 40th anniversary, it is perhaps neither here nor there 40 years later whether Congress in enacting the law was motivated by altruistic, do-good intentions or selfish, foreign policy goals.

But then again, it is important not to reinvent history or look at historical conduct through rose-colored glasses. Indeed, there are numerous accounts of history that ignore what really happened in favor of accounts that sound better.

Sure, one will find certain statements in the legislative history to support the notion that what motivated Congress to enact the FCPA was so-called post-Watergate morality and to level the proverbial “playing field” and make the world a better place.

But let’s not kid ourselves. As detailed in “The Story of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” (the most extensive piece written about the FCPA’s legislative history and largely told through the original voices of participants), the main motivation of Congress in enacting the FCPA was not altruism, but selfish foreign policy reasons.

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Once Again, The DOJ Shoots Itself In The Foot


The Department of Justice has long wanted companies to voluntarily disclose conduct that implicates the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The latest attempt to achieve this policy goal of course was the DOJ’s November 29th announcement of a new “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy.” (This post rounds up all previous posts on this topic).

Why then, literally a few hours after announcing its latest attempt to motivate companies to voluntarily disclose, did the DOJ in announcing the SBM Offshore enforcement action (see here and here for prior posts) once again (see here and here for prior similar posts) shot itself in the foot by making decisions that should result in any board member, audit committee member, or general counsel informed of current events not making the decision to voluntarily disclose?

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Roundup Of DOJ “FCPA Corporate Compliance Policy” Posts


FCPA Professor has been the place to be for the most comprehensive, candid and real-time information concerning the DOJ’s announcement on November 29th of a new “FCPA Corporate Compliance Policy” aimed, in the words of the DOJ, “at providing additional benefits to companies based on their corporate behavior once they learn of misconduct.”

If you missed the eleven separate posts, no worries as this post collects in one place all posts related to the “FCPA Corporate Compliance Policy.”

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What Others Are Saying About The DOJ’s “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy”


In running this website, I often have to “roll up my sleeves” and “get to work” to provide you comprehensive information about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Whether it’s reading hundreds of pages relevant to an FCPA enforcement action (vs. summarizing a DOJ/SEC press as other FCPA websites do) or in this case analyzing over 40 law firm publications about the DOJ’s new “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy,” it’s what I do and I hope you gain value from it.

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For The Record, The FCPA (The Actual Statute) Already Has Some Presumptions

Excuse Me

I seriously question whether certain FCPA commentators who hold themselves out as experts have even read and/or understand the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act statute.

For instance, presumptions are not new to the FCPA space. Indeed, as highlighted below the FCPA (the actual statute – not mere non-binding DOJ policy such as announced last week in the form of the DOJ’s “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy) already has some presumptions.

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