Earlier this week, the DOJ Criminal Division released this guidance document titled “The Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs” (ECCP).
The latest version of the guidance document which “sets forth topics that the Criminal Division has frequently found relevant in evaluating a corporate compliance” is likely to generate a substantial amount of coverage. However, there is little new substantive information in the document compared to the DOJ’s February 2017 release of its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (see here for the prior post) and in fact there was little new information in the February 2017 document as it cited to sources long in the public domain). Indeed, the ECCP contains a spot-on footnote which states that many of the topics discussed appear in other resources long in the public domain.
While the ECCP is not Foreign Corrupt Practices Act specific, it is FCPA relevant. Nevertheless, the policy issue raised with the ECCP (as well as other forms of DOJ guidance) is what should happen if a business organization acts consistent with the factors, but an employee nevertheless exposes the entity to legal liability. Consistent with the FCPA-like laws of many peer countries, this should be relevant as a matter of law and not merely in the opaque, inconsistent, and unpredictable world of DOJ decision making. (See here).