Jenner & Block

Restoring Balance: Proposed Amendments to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Jenner & Block Partner Andrew Weissmann and Associate Alixandra E. Smith authored a paper entitled Restoring Balance: Proposed Amendments to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The paper, which was released by the United States Chamber Institute for Legal Reform ("ILR"), addresses proposed reforms to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"). 

The authors discussed the key reforms suggested in the paper at the ILR’s 11th Annual Legal Reform Summit, during a panel discussion about the FCPA moderated by the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, the former Attorney General of the United States. 

The FCPA is ripe for Congressional action to clarify and reform the statute. The Jenner & Block white paper explores several proposed reforms:

  • Adding a compliance defense
  • Limiting a company’s liability for prior acts of a company it has acquired
  • Adding a "willfulness" requirement for corporate criminal liability
  • Limiting a company’s civil liability for acts of a subsidiary
  • Clearly defining a "foreign official" under the statute

The authors argue that these improvements to the existing statute would bring certainty to the business community when trying to comply with the FCPA; promote efficiency; and enhance public confidence in the integrity of the free market system as well as the underlying principles of our criminal justice system.