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Legislation seeks to hold corporations accountable for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) today introduced legislation to expand the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) giving individuals and companies the ability to take legal action against corporations that violate the anti-bribery provisions. Recent reports of high profile corruption, such as the Panama Papers and Unaoil, allege financial kickbacks and monetary payments to government officials in return for contracts or favors. Under current law, only the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are allowed to bring enforcement actions under the FCPA.
“These recent examples highlight the need for greater focus on the FCPA. I applaud the DOJ and SEC for making FCPA enforcement more of a priority in recent years, but more needs to be done – especially since both agencies are relatively underfunded,” said Perlmutter. “This legislation is a way to meet this increasing demand without adding to the deficit.”
The Foreign Business Bribery Prohibition Act creates a new risk factor for companies to think twice before offering bribes or favors to foreign officials. In addition, the bill aims to instill good governance by clarifying the FCPA statutory interpretations which will help businesses compete overseas and reduce corruption in domestic business operations.
“Corruption and bribery undermine the pillars of democracy and erode trust,” continued Perlmutter. “This legislation helps encourage foreign companies to play by the rules or be brought to court. Most importantly, it is a way to level the playing field and help U.S. companies compete abroad. ”
Rep. Perlmutter introduced similar legislation in 2008 during the 110th Congress after hearing from a constituent business that reported losing a contract because a foreign competitor bribed a government official. The business went to the SEC and DOJ, but no action was taken. Rep. Perlmutter also proposed a similar version of the legislation during the 111th Congress in 2009.