One of the most challenging issues to pin down in many legal and policy discussions is causation.
When thinking of causation, we often fall for the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc (in other words, since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X).
However, real life is often more complex and this is also true in many Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions.
For instance, can it really be said that the “only” reason a company got business was because an employee or agent treated a customer to a round of golf or offered tickets to a sporting event? Perhaps it was mostly because the company offered the best product for the best price? Asking the question is not justifying the underlying conduct (although there is nothing inherently wrong with golfing or going to sporting events), it is simply taking a broader (much needed) view of the underlying facts and circumstances.
Against this backdrop, it is worthwhile to analyze this recent federal court decision concerning a high-profile instance of domestic bribery.