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Reading Assignment

The semester has started and thus giving reading assignments is a daily task of mine.

So here is one for you.

On its recently revamped FCPA website (here), the SEC recently posted (here) the May 1976  “Report of the Securities and Exchange Commission on Questionable and Illegal Corporate Payments and Practices.”

The 1976 Report is an important piece of FCPA legislative history and is discussed at length in both my article “The Story of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” (here) and my “foreign official” declaration (here) that has been used in the recent “foreign official” challenges, including the pending 11th Circuit appeal.

You should read the 1976 SEC Report.

The document best demonstrates that during Congress’s multi-year investigation of the foreign corporate payments problem, Congress learned of a wide range of foreign corporate payments to a variety of recipients for a variety of reasons.  Congress could have legislated as to the wide range of foreign corporate payments discovered and documented in, among other sources in the legislative history, the 1976 SEC Report. Indeed, certain of the bills introduced during the legislative process captured a wide range of foreign corporate payments. Yet in passing the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, Congress intended to capture only a narrow range of foreign corporate payments.

In short, reading the 1976 SEC report will increase one’s understanding and appreciation of the narrow range of foreign corporate payments Congress intended to capture by the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and how the FCPA is a limited statute.

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