Top Menu

SEC Commissioner Crenshaw Uncomfortable With Limiting Civil Penalties To Corporate Benefits

Crenshaw

As highlighted in this prior post, earlier this year SEC Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw (appointed by President Trump and sworn into office in August 2020) stated that the SEC’s historical practice of placing emphasis on factors beyond the actual misconduct when imposing corporate penalties is “fundamentally flawed.”

In pertinent part, Crenshaw stated: “Over the years, Commissioners on both sides of the political aisle have agreed that a strong enforcement program incentivizes compliance with the securities laws, and that enforcement helps to promote a market that inspires investor confidence, creating a level playing field for market participants.  But Commissioners have had different views about when corporate penalties further those goals. It is clear to me that the Commission has historically placed too much emphasis on factors beyond the actual misconduct when imposing corporate penalties – including whether the corporation’s shareholders benefited from the misconduct, or whether they will be harmed by the assessment of a penalty.  This approach is fundamentally flawed.  This approach, more concerningly, could allow companies to profit from fraud as it unnecessarily limits the Commission’s ability to craft appropriately tailored penalties that more effectively deter misconduct.  If we are going to confront the novel issues today’s markets present and deter ever more complicated and hard to detect frauds, we must revisit our approach.”

In this recent public statement, Commissioner Crenshaw returned to the topic in connection with the recent Kraft Heinz Company enforcement action (see here for the prior post).

Continue Reading

Remember When …

Memory Lane

Remember when Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Trevor McFadden stated that it was the DOJ’s “intent … for our FCPA investigations to be measured in months, not years.”

This statement was made four years ago this week (see here for the prior post).

However, like much DOJ rhetoric surrounding the FCPA, it was just empty words. As highlighted below, since the DOJ’s statement of intention it has resolved approximately 30 corporate enforcement actions and the average length of time a company has been under FCPA scrutiny has been approximately 4.25 years.

Continue Reading

SEC Commissioner Calls The SEC’s Approach To Corporate Penalties “Fundamentally Flawed”

Crenshaw

In the FCPA’s modern era of enforcement, the bulk of SEC settlement amounts consist of disgorgement and prejudgment interest (See here). Stated differently (and although there have been a few notable exceptions), civil penalties are not a major feature of most corporate SEC Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions.

Even so, SEC civil penalties can be FCPA relevant and it is thus interesting to note that SEC Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw (appointed by President Trump and sworn into office in August 2020) recently stated that the SEC’s historical practice of placing emphasis on factors beyond the actual misconduct when imposing corporate penalties is “fundamentally flawed.”

In this recent speech before the Council of Institutional Investors , Crenshaw began by stating how an SEC decision made 15 years (see here) “has taken us off course.”

Continue Reading

Acting Deputy Ass’t AG Zink Talks Data, Cooperation, And Coordination

DOJ

Recently, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert Zink delivered this virtual speech in which he talked about: (i) the DOJ’s use of data; and (ii) cooperation and coordination including the DOJ’s so-called “anti-piling” policy.

Zink also stated that “it’s important that the [DOJ Criminal] Division is held accountable by the public for its work—both good and bad.” Duly noted.

Continue Reading

Acting Assistant Attorney General Rabbitt Talks Enforcement Numbers

rabbitt

Earlier this week, Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt delivered this virtual speech at the FCPA’s annual dog and pony show (also know as the American Conference Institute’s FCPA conference).

As highlighted below, in the speech Rabbitt discussed, among other things, “the canard that white-collar enforcement — and FCPA enforcement in particular — has been lackluster during this administration.” As Rabbitt correctly stated: “nothing could be further from the truth.”

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes