Just don’t call it bribery, help wanted at the DOJ, and SEC names a new enforcement director. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.
Just Don’t Call It Bribery
Even though this past January’s presidential inauguration was substantially scaled down from prior inaugurations because of COVID, according to this article  President Biden’s inaugural committee raised $61.8 million for the televised virtual event.
Among the companies that gave $1 million were Bank of America Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Comcast Corp., Levantine Entertainment, Masimo Corp., Uber Technologies, AT&T Inc., Boeing Co., Pfizer Inc., and Qualcomm Inc.
As noted in the article, “top donors were offered perks including virtual events with Mr. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses as well as sessions with top Biden advisors.”
FCPA enforcement agencies bring enforcement actions which contain allegations about golf in the morning and beer drinking in the evening, tickets to sporting events, and other nominal things of value provided to alleged foreign officials such as scuba diving lessons.
But $1 million donations to a specific government official’s inaugural committee in exchange for access? Just don’t call that bribery.
Why are business interactions with “foreign officials” subject to different standards than business interactions with U.S. officials?
As you contemplate this question, just remember the following statement from a DOJ enforcement attorney that “we in the United States are in a unique position to spread the gospel of anti-corruption.”
The DOJ recently posted this job opening  for an attorney position in its FCPA Unit. The position contains the following job descriptions:
- In collaboration with unit managers, carries out and fosters effective investigations and prosecutions, including advising on strategy and legal complexities, and developing litigation priorities, policy, and legislative recommendations. Recommends charging decisions and proposes dispositions with regard to assigned cases.
- Partners with and leads Assistant U.S. Attorneys and attorneys in other federal law enforcement agencies in the development, management and trial of complex white collar and corporate investigations and prosecutions. Engages in all phases of investigation and litigation, including, but not limited to, using the grand jury, advising federal law enforcement agents, utilizing international evidence collection tools, preparing appropriate pleadings, and litigating motions and trials before U.S. District Courts across the country.
- Collaborates with foreign prosecutors and foreign law enforcement officers on international investigations.
- Evaluates reports of potential violations of the FCPA and other criminal statutes from both internal and outside sources to determine whether investigation is warranted.
- Advises and instructs Assistant U.S. Attorneys on complicated questions of law and Departmental policy with respect to the FCPA.
- Represents the United States in direct negotiations and discussions with corporate counsel and high-level officials. Participates in discussions with opposing counsel for defendants and in the formulation of settlements often having far-reaching legal consequences.
- Advises and consults with the Assistant Attorney General, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Section Chief, et al., reporting on the status of all cases and matters related to criminal remedies.
- Serves as an expert, providing advice and policy determinations in matters involving the planning, discussion and coordination of the activities related to the investigation and litigation of FCPA cases. Oversees the preparation and litigation assignments of lower graded attorneys, paralegals and clerical personnel.
It is interesting that the DOJ acknowledges in its job description that FCPA enforcement may involve “complicated questions of law.” Yet another blow to those  who (inaccurately) maintain that the FCPA is clear in all cases.
At the SEC
The SEC recently announced  that Alex Oh has been appointed Director of the Division of Enforcement. As stated in the release:
“Oh was most recently a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and co-chair of the law firm’s Anti-Corruption & FCPA Practice Group. She was previously an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she was a member of the Securities & Commodities Fraud Task Force and the Major Crimes Unit.”
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