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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Alice Fisher Regarding DOJ FCPA Enforcement And Policy

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The FCPA Flash podcast provides in an audio format the same fresh, candid, and informed commentary about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics as readers have come to expect from written posts on FCPA Professor.

This FCPA Flash episode is a conversation with Alice Fisher (Latham & Watkins and former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the DOJ’s Criminal Division). During the podcast, Fisher discusses: the DOJ’s recent non-binding policy discouraging “piling on”;  the DOJ’s FCPA Opinion Procedure program in light of her 2006 comments as Assistant AG that the program should “be something that is useful as a guide to business”; whether the DOJ’s long-standing efforts to encourage voluntary disclosure have failed (for instance in the same above-linked speech Fisher stated: “I can tell you [companies] in unequivocal terms that you will get a real benefit” for voluntary disclosure; whether FCPA enforcement (in terms of resolution vehicles, enforcement theories, DOJ/SEC policy, etc.) has evolved for the better or the worse since her time at the DOJ; and what about the FCPA (the actual statute) or FCPA enforcement (DOJ/SEC enforcement policy, resolution vehicles, etc.) should change and why.

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Deputy AG Rosenstein Assumes Causation In Calling The FCPA Pilot Program “Successful”

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As long as there have been government programs, government officials have been inclined to proclaim the program a success.

For instance, last week in announcing the DOJ’s new “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated:  “The incentive system set forth in the Department’s FCPA Pilot Program motivates and rewards companies that want to do the right thing and voluntarily disclose misconduct. In the first year of the Pilot Program, the FCPA Unit received 22 voluntary disclosures, compared to 13 during the previous year.  In total, during the year and a half that the Pilot Program was in effect, the FCPA Unit received 30 voluntary disclosures, compared to 18 during the previous 18‑month period.”

As highlighted in this post, Rosenstein’s statement assumes causation – in other words that the supposed increase in voluntary disclosures was the result of the April 2016 Pilot Program.

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On The Intersection Of Antitrust Enforcement And Corruption

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Recently Roger Alford (Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division – who until recently was a law professor at Notre Dame) delivered this speech regarding the intersection of antitrust enforcement and corruption.

Prior to highlighting the speech, this post further explores the intersection by: documenting how Congress – in enacting the FCPA – considered whether the antitrust laws adequately captured the so-called foreign corporate payments at issue; and highlighting FCPA enforcement actions which also included antitrust charges.

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Mulling Over Moser’s Recent FCPA Remarks

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Recently Sandra Moser (Principal Deputy Chief, Fraud Section, DOJ) delivered these remarks (provided to me by the DOJ) at an event titled “Global Forum on Anti-Corruption in High Risk Markets.”

This post provides commentary on the remarks ranging from how best to incentivize compliance, the U.S. “piling” on foreign law enforcement actions, individual accountability, DOJ transparency in resolving FCPA enforcement actions, and the DOJ’s FCPA Pilot Program.

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The Current Failure Of The FCPA Pilot Program To Accomplish One Of The DOJ’s Stated “Main Goals”

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As highlighted in the article “Grading the DOJ’s FCPA Pilot Program” and this post, it is difficult (if not impossible) to empirically assess whether one of the Pilot Program’s goals (to increase corporate voluntarily disclosures) is actually working. Simply put, many business organizations were voluntarily disclosing prior to the April 2016 Pilot Program and the precise question after the Pilot Program is whether the program is motivating voluntary disclosures to a greater extent than prior to the program.

Yet as highlighted below, it is possible to assess whether another of the DOJ’s stated “main goals” of its Pilot Program is working and at present the undeniable answer is that, as measured against this “main goal,” the Pilot Program is currently failing.

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