Revisions bring DOJ and SEC guidance in line with FCPA statutory language.
In June, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) quietly revised its manual, A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the Resource Guide), for the first time. Originally published in November 2012, the Resource Guide provides consolidated guidance on the DOJ’s and SEC’s enforcement policies and their interpretation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Although the changes are more technical than substantive in nature, they do offer some further clarity for the chapters that discuss accounting provisions and criminal penalties. A summary of the revisions are below, and the complete, revised Resource Guide can be found here.
These latter two changes modify the Resource Guide’s language to align with the 1988 amendments to the FCPA.
As with the prior version, the revised Resource Guide remains “non-binding, informal, and summary in nature” and is offered to provide information to individuals and businesses seeking to comply with the law. Accordingly, although these technical fixes may help align the Resource Guide more closely with the FCPA’s statutory language, the Resource Guide merely offers the DOJ’s and SEC’s interpretation of the law and their respective mandates for enforcement. Until such time as the courts have an opportunity to weigh in, the FCPA—and the obligations imposed on those that seek to comply—will remain open to interpretation. However, the revisions to the Resource Guide, together with the DOJ’s recently announced internal counsel position (discussed in our LawFlash published earlier this week), seem to support the DOJ’s broader commitment to greater transparency in FCPA enforcement.
. Emphasis added.