Off-Target

Ever have one of those situations when you read something multiple times and it still does not make sense?

Earlier this week, CtW Investment Group (here) called on Siemens to end its relationship with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because the Chamber “has engaged in an expensive campaign to undermine” the FCPA.  William Patterson, Executive Director of the CtW Investment Group stated that Siemens “association with the Chamber and its efforts to rollback the FCPA [...] undermines the considerable sums Siemens has invested in compliance.”  In a letter (here) to Siemens’ President and Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Patterson stated as follows.  “The significant investments [Siemens] has undertaken to overhaul its compliance mechanisms and restore its reputation, however, are undermined by Siemens’ continued membership and support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which for the past year has waged an expensive lobbying campaign to weaken the FCPA.”

I have no idea if Siemens, as an organization, is in favor of FCPA reform and/or whether it has specifically contributed to the Chamber’s FCPA reform efforts.

However, let’s assume that Siemens is in favor of an FCPA compliance defense (one of the FCPA reform proposals being considered).  How is this position “undermined” by the considerable sums Siemens has invested in compliance?  As I note in my forthcoming scholarship ”Revisiting an Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance Defense” (see here), even the DOJ recognizes that Siemens has ”set a high standard for multi-national companies to follow” and that the company has 600 full-time compliance personnel, its Anti-Corruption Toolkit was designed by industry leaders, and its has 100-plus compliance systems controls in high-risk jurisdictions.

It is precisely because of these above factors that Siemens (and other companies that make similar compliance investments) should be in favor of a FCPA compliance defense!

As Patterson’s letter states,  “[T]here is likely no other company in the world today that has recently devoted as many corporate resources to anticorruption compliance than Siemens. [...] On the flip side, there is likely no other company in the world that facts as many negative reputational consequences should its compliance efforts fail …”.  [Attribution in the letter would have been appropriate, here is what I said in an October 10, 2011 post titled "Siemens and an FCPA Compliance" - "[T]here is likely no other company in the world today that has devoted as many corporate resources, with the assistance of industry experts, to compliance than Siemens.  On the flip side, there is likely no other company in  the world today that faces as many negative consequences should its compliance efforts fail than Siemens.”]

The letter also states as follows.  “In October 2010, ironically the same month the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a report praising enforcement of the FCPA, the Chamber released ‘Restoring Balance” a brief criticizing ‘an active FCPA enforcement environment.”  As noted in this prior post, while the OECD loudly praised the U.S. for its “high level” of enforcement, the OECD actually criticized and questioned many of the policies and enforcement theories which yield the “high level” of enforcement.

On-Target

The FCPA Blog (here) recently highlighted a 2008 transcript from the Albert Stanley case.  In it, Judge Keith Ellison (S.D. Tex.) stated as follows in an exchange with a DOJ attorney:  “I  know it’s a growth industry, isn’t it, the Foreign Corrupt  Practices Act? It’s keeping a lot of white collar  lawyers busy; is that fair?”

Also on the FCPA Blog, Jan Handzlik (counsel to Lindsey Manufacturing and Keith Lindsey – see here for the prior post discussing Judge Matz’s order vacating the convictions and dismissing the indictment due to prosecutorial misconduct ) commented (here) on the O’Shea acquittal this week and stated as follows.  “It’s much more challenging for the government when defendants persist in asserting their innocence.”

Nathan Vardi writes for Forbes.  Among his prior works is “The Bribery Racket” (here) a piece that certainly got people talking.  In this new piece titled “The FCPA Fiasco: Pressure Tactics In Corruption Cases Backfiring,” Vardi states as follows.  “[T]he last decade the federal government has greatly increased its FCPA enforcement, threatening to bring an indictment against any company that does not cooperate and act harshly if companies don’t voluntarily report any potential sins. This game has been cheered on by lawyers and accountants, even journalists, who benefitted immensely from the expensive internal investigations companies initiate to deal with this new reality.” [...]  But you can’t have 150 FCPA investigations and dozens of companies essentially admitting to corrupting behavior, resulting in billions of dollars of fines, penalties, and legal and accounting fees, without eventually holding individuals accountable for the alleged violation of U.S. law. And those individuals have much stronger incentives to fight those charges in court, especially now with evidence mounting that the government’s legal argument in many FCPA cases is weak and flawed.”

Finally, in this piece, Miller & Chevalier attorneys Kathryn Atkinson, James Tillen, and Marc Bohn had this to say after noting several recent DOJ FCPA setbacks.   “We are also optimistic that the events of 2011 may lead to a healthier level of engagement on substantive issues in the context of settlement-heavy FCPA enforcement. In recent years, not only have most matters been settled, but some have settled with little debate over (or public discussion of) the application of the statutory elements to the facts. In an adversarial system, however, these debates are essential. Each side must be prepared to challenge the other’s view of the facts, and their relevance under the law, and to have its own view challenged as well. When this system breaks down, the substantive dialogue is lost. It is likely the shortage of this substantive dialogue, more than actual ambiguity in the statute itself, that has given rise to recent discussions at conferences, in the media and online, and in Congress expressing frustrations about a lack of clarity in FCPA enforcement. A vigorous exploration of substantive issues in the context of our adversarial system should provide some relief from these frustrations and lead us to more effective and efficient prevention and deterrence.”

I wrote about many of the same issues in 2010 in ”The Facade of FCPA Enforcement” (see here).

*****

A good weekend to all.