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The Many Ironies Of Mary Jo White’s Tenure At The SEC

Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, testifies to the House Financial Services Committee about the effects of the Volcker Rule on employment in Washington on February 5, 2014.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTX189AM

Earlier this week SEC Chair Mary Jo White announced that she will soon be leaving the SEC.

As the head of the SEC since April 2013, White obviously had a lot on her plate and thus judging her tenure through the lens of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related issues is a bit too narrow.

Nevertheless, as SEC Chair White did frequently speak about the FCPA and related issues and the SEC does maintain an FCPA Unit (one of only five specialized units at the SEC). Thus, judging her tenure with reference to the FCPA is warranted.

In this regard, this post highlights the many ironies of White’s tenure at the SEC. Some of the issues discussed below certainly pre-date White’s tenure at the SEC, yet as Chair the issues continued under White’s leadership.

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Must See Video Clips From Assistant AG Caldwell’s Recent FCPA Speech

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Kudos to C-SPAN for broadcasting Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell’s recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act speech and related Q&A. (See here and here for prior posts). The broadcast represents a valuable public service to the FCPA community compared to the norm where DOJ/SEC FCPA officials appear at private events in which the public has to pay to hear their public officials speak about important topics (see here and here for prior posts criticizing this practice) and in which tidbits of information get reported largely through the filters of FCPA Inc. participants.

This post further advances the public interest by clipping Assistant AG Caldwell’s speech into discrete topics such as: (i) how “it’s impossible for a big global company to make sure that all of its employees are following the law all of the time,” (ii) thresholds for voluntary disclosure including how the DOJ does not “need to hear” or “want to hear” about certain potential FCPA violations; (iii) how some companies have engaged in “way too broad” FCPA investigations, and (iv) what a so-called “declination” means.

These clips represent must see video for corporate managers wrestling with FCPA issues and others in the FCPA community.

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Assistant Attorney General Caldwell’s Q&A Regarding FCPA Enforcement

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This post is from Debevoise & Plimpton attorneys Veronica Glick and Jonathan Tuttle.

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Yesterday, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell discussed the DOJ’s FCPA enforcement goals at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.   Caldwell’s remarks, available here, covered three topics: enforcement focus on large-scale international corruption; transparency in charging decisions with respect to corporate prosecutions; and fostering corporate compliance and cooperation.

The discussion below focuses on the Q&A portion of the event, which included the audience and panelists Karen Popp of Sidley Austin and Susan Karamanian of GW Law.  Assistant Attorney General Caldwell answered questions regarding the DOJ’s new FCPA pilot program, relationships with foreign law enforcement and the DOJ’s understanding of the FCPA’s jurisdictional reach.

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Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell On Transparency, The DOJ’s FCPA Pilot Program, And Corporate Compliance

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Yesterday, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell participated in an event at George Washington University Law School focused on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The DOJ released these prepared remarks that will be familiar to most FCPA practitioners in that the speech did not break any new ground.

Ms. Caldwell spoke at great length about transparency (similar to this April 2015 speech she delivered on the topic) and added how the DOJ’s FCPA Pilot Program (announced in April 2016) was an effort in increase transparency.

This is an interesting statement given that the majority of the DOJ’s so-called declination letters under the Pilot Program merely reference “potential” FCPA violations and offer no substance whatsoever regarding the “potential” violations.

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FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Ty Cobb Regarding FCPA Enforcement And Enforcement Policies

FCPA Flash

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 expect from the written posts on FCPA Professor.

This FCPA Flash episode is a conversation with Ty Cobb (Hogan Lovells), a former federal prosecutor and widely regarded as one of the leading white collar defense attorneys in the country. In the episode, Cobb discusses whether the SEC should formally announce an FCPA Pilot Program similar to what the DOJ announced in April 2016; the lack of judicial scrutiny of FCPA enforcement actions; what “success” means in FCPA enforcement; and dynamics relevant to foreign law enforcement actions concerning FCPA or similar conduct.

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