A Brief History of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

August 25th, 2011

As many of our readers know, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is under assault by the Chamber of Commerce and some members of Congress.  This valuable statute prohibits domestic companies from bribing foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business opportunities abroad and has a purposefully broad reach, extending to any company operating globally with securities registered in the U.S.

It should go without saying this kind of corruption undermines the integrity of foreign governments and competitive business practices internationally.  In spite of this, the Chamber of Commerce wants to “reform” the statute so corporations can more easily bribe their way to greater profits.  CREW is working with other public interest groups to keep this from happening.  Victims of these corrupt payments are not only companies that play by the rules, but impoverished peoples world-wide who suffer while their resources are exploited by multinational corporations and their leaders bloat themselves in riches.

A couple years ago PBS produced an excellent history of the FCPA and the international movement to curb bribery, of which the U.S. has long been a leader in doing so.  If you have some free time, give it a watch.

Cross-posted with permission from the CREW blog.

Written by Jeremy Miller

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