Civil Justice Implications of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Friday, September 14, 2012
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2237


Gerald Martin
Associate Professor, American University


Matthew Miner
Partner, White & Case LLP

The release of the Searle Civil Justice Institute’s report on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement actions was held on September 14, 2012 on Capitol Hill. We examined the legal and policy implications of the paper’s findings.

In the 1970’s, Congressional investigations revealed that many U.S. firms were making direct and indirect payments to foreign government officials to obtain business. Concerns about these activities culminated in December 1977 with the passage of the FCPA, making the U.S. the first country to prohibit payments to foreign government officials to secure a business advantage.

There has been a marked increase in FCPA enforcement in recent years: prior to 2005, the Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission brought about two cases per year; since 2005, enforcement has increased to an average of fifteen cases per year.

This increase in enforcement actions has sparked a vibrant debate, with some calling for the reform of the FCPA.

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