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Waiting For The Guidance

As noted in this prior post, on November 8, 2011 Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer announced before an FCPA audience that in 2012 the DOJ hopes to “release detailed new guidance on the [FCPA’s] criminal and civil enforcement provisions.”

The calendar now says July and the FCPA community is still anxiously awaiting the guidance.  The question is, should it really be taking this long?  The guidance will be a combined effort of the DOJ, SEC and Commerce Department and to the agencies credit they have met with various business and public interest groups concerning the guidance.  This takes time, but should it take this much time?

Is the long delay in the guidance a recognition by the agencies that perhaps providing FCPA guidance is not as easy as first thought?  After all, the DOJ and SEC seem to expect that counsel and compliance practitioners provide real-time FCPA guidance, should not the agencies be able to do the same?

Is the long delay in the guidance an effort to further stall legislative FCPA reform?  Many believe that the DOJ’s November 2011 announcement of FCPA guidance was an effort to do just that.

Does the long delay in the guidance raise the expectations that the guidance will be substantive and meaningful as opposed to speculation that the guidance will merely be a compilation in one document of information already in the public domain and accessible to those who know where to look?

The FCPA community has waited seven months for the guidance.  But then again, in the FCPA’s 1988 amendments Congress encouraged the DOJ to issue FCPA guidance, so what’s an extra few days/weeks/months of waiting!

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