Can the FCPA Be Good for Business?


Congress and enforcement authorities could encourage growth through a safe harbor and clearly stated penalty reduction formulas.

Compliance with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is now a fact of life for US companies, as well as for foreign companies subject to US securities laws. With the advent of the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act, and continued pressure from international organizations for stepped-up anti-corruption laws and enforcement programs around the globe, the trend toward expansive global anti-corruption initiatives continues.

But that is the old news; on the horizon is an initiative to reform the FCPA and to advocate for enforcement policies that, by serving the statute’s fundamental objectives, would render the FCPA far more business-friendly than is now the case.

For those whose initial reaction to this suggestion is to question why “business-friendly” is even a factor, please note the current abysmal economic conditions in the United States. The development and enforcement of US laws governing the commercial affairs of US businesses are both part of the problem and part of the solution to restoring growth in the economy. Those responsible for making and enforcing our laws are in a position to adopt laws and policies that can help foster, rather than inhibit, business growth. At the heart of that analysis, asking whether broad-ranging laws like the FCPA are functioning as an impediment to a restored economy is worthwhile.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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