In the fervor of the U.S.'s current anti-foreign-corruption efforts, a particularly misguided proposal has occasionally reared its ugly head: Requiring “mandatory debarment” for any company that violates the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).
On the merits, such a proposal is completely wrong-headed. Debarment is a severe, forward-looking administrative remedy – the corporate “death penalty” – not a vehicle to “boost” the penalties for past criminal FCPA violations.
Nonetheless, in 2010, such a “mandatory debarment” bill was passed by the House, only to die in Congress due to Senate inaction. Optimistic multinational contractors might therefore have concluded, “Whew, we dodged that bullet.”
However, a recent law-review article has sought to resurrect the debarment idea, contending that no other remedy will deter large global companies from violating the FCPA.
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