In a speech announcing a new policy regarding Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement policy, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, recognized “The United States plays a central role in the worldwide fight against corruption, and we serve as a role model. Following our lead, many other countries have joined America by implementing their own anti-corruption laws. Those laws do not just encourage good business. They promote good government.”
Yet, FCPA enforcement is more than simply about good government. Just as the Saudi Arabian government explained the economic costs of bribery and corruption to its country, Rosenstein spoke about the costs to business from those who try to game the system, obtaining an unfair advantage through payment of bribes and engaging in corruption. He cited the April speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions who spoke about other negative aspects of corruption including “increased prices, substandard products and services, and reduced investment.” Finally, Rosenstein spoke to the basic need for businesses to operate honestly and ethically. This is both true for U.S. companies and the greater international business community.
Internationally, he noted “the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development adopted an Anti-Bribery Convention in 1997. That convention fuels the growing international rejection of corruption. Forty-three nations participate in the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The agreement establishes legally binding standards. Member countries are required to adopt laws that criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.” He also spoke about the continuing cooperation among international authorities in both investigation of bribery and corruption and of enforcement against wrong-doers.
The new FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy will be focused on primarily for enforcement concepts and issues. Yet, the Justice Department has now recognized the economic costs of bribery and corruption. More importantly it is in the interests of the United States to both keep the playing field level for American companies and help raise the level of economic growth through fighting bribery and corruption across the globe. Bravo to the DoJ.