Archive for the ‘FCPA Scholarship’ Category

FCPA Summer Reading List

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Summer ReadingThe dog days of summer.  A time for reflection, a time to think, a time to read.

This post provides an overview of FCPA writings that can help you elevate your Foreign Corrupt Practices Act knowledge, sophistication, and practical skills.

“The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a New Era”

This book is the most comprehensive and candid book written about the FCPA. The book dissects the FCPA’s new era and readers from the boardroom, to the courtroom, to the classroom will benefit from the nine chapters of the book which place the FCPA’s new era in context and provide a practical and provocative analysis of the FCPA, its enforcement, and related topics.

To see what others are saying about the book see herehere, here and here.

To order a hard copy of the book, see here and here; to order an e-copy of the book, see here and here.

“The Facade of FCPA Enforcement”

According to available metrics, “The Facade of FCPA Enforcement” is the most downloaded article written about the FCPA. The 2010 article began a much-needed discussion of various aspects of FCPA enforcement, analyzes various pillars that contribute to the facade of FCPA enforcement, and highlights that the FCPA, in its so-called new era, is being enforced like no other law.  To download the article, click here.

“Ten Seldom Discussed FCPA Facts That You Need To Know”

Much is written about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. However, amid the clutter of enforcement agency rhetoric and resolution documents not subjected to any meaningful judicial scrutiny as well as the mountains of FCPA Inc. marketing material touting the next compliance risk, there are certain FCPA facts that are seldom discussed. Yet such facts, covering the entire span of the FCPA — from the statute’s enactment, to its statutory provisions, to FCPA enforcement, to FCPA reform, to the FCPA industry itself — occasionally bear repeating.  This article does that by highlighting ten seldom discussed FCPA facts that you need to know. To download the article, click here.

“The Story of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act”

This article, published on the FCPA’s 35th anniversary, is the most extensive piece written about the history of the FCPA and it weaves together information and events scattered in the FCPA’s voluminous legislative record to tell the FCPA’s story through original voices of actual participants who shaped the law.  To download the article, click here.

“Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Ripples”

The most extensive article written about the negative business effects of FCPA scrutiny and enforcement beyond actual enforcement actions.  The Article shifts the FCPA conversation away from a purely legal issue to its more proper designation as a general business issue that needs to be on the radar screen of business managers operating in the global marketplace.   The article assists in-house counsel and compliance professionals stress the importance of FCPA compliance by highlighting issues that matter most to corporate leaders. To download the article, click here.

“Revisiting a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance Defense”

This article asserts that the current FCPA enforcement environment does not adequately recognize a company’s good faith commitment to FCPA compliance and does not provide good corporate citizens a sufficient return on their compliance investments.  To download the article, click here.

“Grading the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Guidance”

A critical analysis of the FCPA Guidance released by the DOJ and SEC in November 2012.  Among other things, the following topics are discussed: (i) the enforcement agencies’ motivations in issuing the Guidance and the fact that it should have been issued years ago; (ii) the utility of the Guidance from an access-of-information perspective and how the Guidance can be used as a measuring stick for future enforcement agency activity; and (iii) how the Guidance is an advocacy piece and not a well-balanced portrayal of the FCPA as it is replete with selective information, half-truths, and, worse information that is demonstratively false. To download the article, click here.

“Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Enforcement as Seen through Wal-Mart’s Potential Exposure”

What does the most high-profile instance of FCPA scrutiny in history tells us about the current FCPA enforcement environment?  Quite a lot actually.  To download the article, click here.

“Why You Should Be Alarmed by the ADM FCPA Enforcement Action”

Certain FCPA enforcement actions should legitimately cause many to wonder whether the enforcement agencies have transformed FCPA enforcement into a free-for-all in which any conduct the agencies find objectionable is fair game to extract a multimillion-dollar settlement from a risk-averse corporation. This article highlights why anyone who values the rule of law should be alarmed by the ADM enforcement action.  To download the article, click here.

“What Percentage of DOJ FCPA Losses is Acceptable?”

Bringing criminal charges and marshalling the full resources of law enforcement against an individual is an awesome power that our government possess. Because that power alters the lives of real people and their families, sidetracks real careers, empties real bank accounts in mounting a defense, and causes often irreversible damage to real reputations, it ought to be exercised with real discipline and prudence. It is fact that during this new era of FCPA enforcement the DOJ has an overall losing record in FCPA enforcement actions when actually put to its ultimate burden of proof and this article poses the question:  what percentage of DOJ FCPA losses is acceptable?  To download the article, click here.

In addition to the above articles, each year I publish an extensive FCPA year in review.  Put them all together and you will have an extensive collection of FCPA statistics, trends, and analysis over time.

For 2014, see here.

For 2013, see here.

For 2012, see here.

For 2011, see here.

For 2010, see here.

For 2009, see here.

To read my Senate FCPA testimony click here to download, and to see a full listing of all my FCPA writings click here.

Thanks for reading!

Friday Roundup

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Roundup2A reading stack edition of the Friday roundup.


Miller & Chevalier’s FCPA Summer Review 2015 is here.

Regarding the DOJ’s latest FCPA trial court debacle in the Sigelman case (see hereherehere and here for prior posts), the review states:

“The DOJ’s prosecution and trial of Joseph Sigelman deserves special notice, as it was the DOJ’s first trial of an individual on FCPA charges since the acquittal in January 2012 of John Joseph O’Shea. Sigelman’s trial … lasted nine days and ended with prosecutors entering into a negotiated guilty plea with Sigelman on only one of the six counts with which he was charged after a key government witness admitted to lying on the stand. Sigelman’s sentence of probation with no imprisonment was essentially a victory for Sigelman, and the judge was particularly critical of the government’s key witness as well as its sentencing recommendation. The trial adds to a string of recent FCPA prosecutions involving individuals in which the government has failed to secure a conviction or its recommended sentence, highlighting the difficulties the DOJ has sometimes encountered when forced to bear its burden of proof in court.”


Relevant to the double standard issues frequently highlighted on these pages, one interesting side note to come out of the Sigelman trial was testimony about the alleged “commonplace” practice among certain law firms of providing expensive tickets to high-profile sporting events to corporate clients.   (See here from Bloomberg).

Do that with certain other clients or potential clients and the DOJ/SEC would be apt to call that bribery.


My Southern Illinois University School of Law colleague Lucian Dervan co-authored an article with Ellen Podgor (White Collar Crime Prof Blog) titled “White Collar Crime: Still Hazy After All These Years.” The abstract states:

“With a seventy-five year history of sociological and later legal roots, the term “white collar crime” remains an ambiguous concept that academics, policy makers, law enforcement personnel and defense counsel are unable to adequately define. Yet the use of the term “white collar crime” skews statistical reporting and sentencing for this conduct. This Article provides a historical overview of its linear progression and then a methodology for a new architecture in examining this conduct. It separates statutes into clear-cut white collar offenses and hybrid statutory offenses, and then applies this approach with an empirical study that dissects cases prosecuted under hybrid white collar statutes of perjury, false statements, obstruction of justice, and RICO. The empirical analysis suggests the need for an individualized multivariate approach to categorizing white collar crime to guard against broad federal statutes providing either under-inclusive or over-inclusive examination of this form of criminality.”


Bruce Carton (Securities Docket) recently hosted this webinar titled “The U.K. Bribery Act After Five Years – Where Are We Now?” Panelists were Barry Vitou (author of and Anne-Marie Ottaway of the law firm Pinsent Masons; Vivian Robinson QC, former general counsel to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office and now a partner at McGuireWoods; and Julian Glass of FTI Consulting.


A good weekend to all.



Book Review – “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act In A New Era”

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

New EraToday’s post is a book review by Professor Peter Reilly (Texas A&M University School of Law and author of several FCPA articles) of my book “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act In A New Era.”  The review originally appeared in a recent volume of International Trade Law and Regulation.


The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a New Era, by law professor Mike Koehler, provides a fascinating and thorough analysis of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).  But the book does far more than that; this volume attempts to educate readers in such a manner that they understand not only the motivation and thought processes behind the initial passage of the Act, but also the ongoing policy debates surrounding this important and controversial piece of legislation.

While some books on the FCPA appear to target a particular audience, such as academics for example, this volume will prove useful to anyone, in whatever field, who wants to thoroughly understand the past, present, and future of the FCPA, whether that person is engaged in business, law, government, academia, public policy, or any other pursuit or profession.

Professor Koehler’s insightful presentation and analysis of material on the FCPA likely comes from his unique background in the field.  Prior to academia, Koehler was an FCPA attorney in private practice where he advised clients on FCPA compliance matters, conducted FCPA investigations around the globe, and negotiated resolutions to FCPA enforcement actions with government agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Professor Koehler explains how his work in private practice led to an intense interest in “asking the why questions” regarding the FCPA and “injecting a candid and informed scholarly voice into the issues.”

This, in turn, led to a career in academia with a near-singular focus on mastering the complex and fascinating topics surrounding the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws and initiatives.  In this capacity, Koehler has testified before the U.S. Congress on the FCPA, published articles on the topic in leading law reviews and journals, been cited in legal briefs, judicial decisions, policy papers, and Congressional testimony, and been a featured source in various national and international media.  In short, Professor Koehler has become one of the most knowledgeable and influential thinkers in the field, both domestically and internationally, and this volume represents the fruit of a number of years of thoughtful research, writing, and teaching on the subject.

The depth and breadth of material covered in the book is ambitious, including the FCPA’s legislative history; enforcement agency policies and practices, including various alternative dispute resolution vehicles commonly used by enforcement agencies; FCPA legal authority, as well as administrative and other sources of guidance concerning the law; the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, as well as its books and records and internal controls provisions; reasons for the increase in FCPA enforcement during the past decade; compliance and best practices information; and suggested FCPA reform measures.

At the beginning of the book, Professor Koehler sets forth numerous questions, many of which could take an entire law review article to answer.   These questions include: (1) Who decides what bribery is? (2) Are business organizations that are subject to FCPA scrutiny ‘bad’ or ‘unethical’? (3) Is it still ‘bribery’ if the conduct in question was supported by the highest levels of the U.S. government? (4) If bribery is ‘bad,’ does that mean that all attempts to punish bribery and deter future misconduct are ‘good’? (5) Why has FCPA enforcement increased to the point that it is now a top legal and compliance concern for companies doing business in the global marketplace? (6) Has the quantity of FCPA enforcement actions become a higher priority for enforcement agencies than the quality of those actions? (7) Why does FCPA compliance remain difficult for even the most well-managed and well-intentioned companies? (8) Has this ‘new era’ of FCPA enforcement actually resulted in wasteful over compliance, with companies viewing every foreign business partner with irrational suspicion? (9) Is this ‘new era’ of FCPA enforcement—along with the ‘thriving and lucrative anti-bribery complex’ that has emerged simultaneously—desirable from a legal or policy perspective? (10) Has this ‘new era’ of FCPA enforcement been successful in actually reducing bribery?  And if not, could the FCPA be amended, or could certain enforcement agency policies and procedures be revised, in order to better achieve the original aims of the FCPA?

The book addresses the issues surrounding these questions at a surprisingly detailed and in-depth level, especially with respect to those questions requiring answers that are more subtle and complex in nature.  The fact is there can be strong disagreement regarding the answers to many of these questions.  One of the more interesting aspects of studying the FCPA is to consider how much a person’s political or economic interests can influence his or her reasoning in answering the various questions posed by Koehler.  The key is that Professor Koehler, ever the law school teacher who is more fond of questioning, probing, and analyzing an issue than of trying to force feed his own conclusions in the matter, concentrates on building knowledge and skill-level within readers so they themselves can successfully grapple with the questions presented in the book, as well as their own questions involving the FCPA.

Specifically, Professor Koehler relies on numerous vehicles and texts to build what he calls “FCPA goggles” for readers, enabling them to understand the FCPA to the extent necessary to make their own assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of the law, and to be able to pinpoint areas where the FCPA might be changed for improvement.  Readers are introduced to the FCPA’s statutory text, legislative history, judicial decisions, enforcement agency guidance, and various enforcement actions.  Koehler believes that analyzing these various authorities, and figuring out their impact upon how the FCPA is understood and enforced, are key aspects of providing readers with the knowledge they need to continue their own questioning, probing, and analyzing of this controversial law.  As Professor Koehler says to the reader, “[W]ith your FCPA goggles you now have a sharper focus to critically analyze various aspects of this new era, including whether the current FCPA and its enforcement best advance the laudable objectives of the FCPA.”

It is these ‘FCPA goggles’ that allow readers to judge the two suggestions for reform put forth by Professor Koehler toward the end of the volume:  a compliance defense, as well as the abolition of Non-Prosecution and Deferred Prosecution Agreements (NPAs and DPAs) within the context of FCPA enforcement.  I will leave it to readers of the book to determine for themselves, through their own ‘FCPA goggles,’ whether Koehler has made a strong case for either suggested reform measure.  I will say, however, that Professor Koehler seems to be aware that he has well-equipped readers to subject his ideas to deep and knowledgeable scrutiny based upon what he has taught them to that point in the book.  With that in mind, Koehler has to carefully explain why, for example, a compliance defense is neither a new nor novel idea; how in some respects the Department of Justice already recognizes a ‘de facto’ compliance defense; how numerous former high-ranking government officials support such a defense; and which important policy objectives would be advanced through an FCPA compliance defense.  Koehler builds and bolsters his argument by relying upon various testimony and legal and policy authority.  It almost feels like an academic ‘capstone’ exercise for the book, where the Professor puts forth his arguments and then turns to the reader/student and asks, “Have I done what I set out to do in this project?  Are you now able to thoroughly question, analyze, and criticize my arguments based upon what you have learned through this book?”

The answer is unequivocally yes; and the contribution this new volume makes to the field is unequivocally substantial.


For additional reviews of the book, see here.

To order a hard copy of the book, see here and here; to order an e-copy of the book, see here and here.


New Article – Ten Seldom Discussed FCPA Facts That You Need To Know

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

FactsBloomberg BNA’s White Collar Crime Report recently published my article “Ten Seldom Discussed FCPA Facts That You Need To Know.”

If you want to develop a sophisticated understanding of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics, you should read the article.

The article can be downloaded here and it begins as follows.

“Much is written about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. However, amid the clutter of enforcement agency rhetoric and resolution documents not subjected to any meaningful judicial scrutiny as well as the mountains of FCPA Inc. marketing material touting the next compliance risk, there are certain FCPA facts that are seldom discussed.

Yet such facts, covering the entire span of the FCPA (from the statute’s enactment, to its statutory provisions, to FCPA enforcement, to FCPA reform, to the FCPA industry itself) occasionally bear repeating.

This article does that by highlighting ten seldom discussed FCPA facts that you need to know.”


A Look Back At 2014 FCPA Enforcement And Related Developments

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

2014 year in reviewEach year, in addition to numerous posts published on this site, I author a year a review / recent developments article devoted to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related issues.

The 2014 version is forthcoming in the Santa Clara Journal of International Law and can be downloaded for free here.

Among the issues addressed in the article are the following:

  • A wide variety of FCPA enforcement statistics from 2014;
  • A comparison of enforcement statistics from 2014 to prior years;
  • The wide spectrum of FCPA enforcement actions from 2014 and how the breadth of such allegations send confusing compliance messages to those subject to the FCPA;
  • The wide gap between corporate and individual FCPA enforcement and a relevant data point which helps explain the gap;
  • The surge in SEC administrative actions to resolve alleged instances of FCPA scrutiny and why the surge is problematic;
  • The most important FCPA legal development from 2014; and
  • How judicial scrutiny of enforcement theories related to FCPA enforcement should cause pause as to certain FCPA enforcement theories.

Combine the 2014 year in review article with the ones below and you will have an extensive collection of FCPA statistics, trends, and analysis over time.

For 2013, see here.

For 2012, see here.

For 2011, see here.

For 2010, see here.

For 2009, see here.