Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Hey, Amigo, keep it under your hat

This is a bullshit piece of legislation that ensnared Greenwich resident Frederick Bourke among countless others. Every single defendant who’s gone to trial under this law has been convicted which ought to tell you something about its wide net and overbroad provisions because prosecutors aren’t so good that they can bat 1,000. If they do, then the law is bad.

My friend Walter Olson discusses the law and WalMart’s Mexican troubles today and details some of the abuses of the Act. Olson describes FCPA as “a feel-good piece of overcriminalization that Congress should never have passed”. Couldn’t agree more. Read his article for more.


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10 responses to “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

  1. JRH

    CF, check those facts — there have definitely been FCPA acquittals, so many recently that there was this Reuters story about the DOJ’s “string of setbacks” on FCPA actions.

  2. The FCPA is a ridiculous feeding frenzy for lawyers that essentially punishes American companies for following local customs in foreign lands. Note that the government of Mexico is not pursuing charges against WalMart (only our government is).

    More punishment for evil corporations and reasons to drive American HQs overseas. Nice going, guys.

  3. Pingback: Punitive moralism and Wal-Mart’s Mexico mess

  4. Seymour Cox

    What’s under the sombrero?

  5. Fair Trade ?
    Bribes paid in foreign countries ….
    Tax deductable in France…..

    • A guy I know here in Greenwich told me that when he worked for an international oil company in Africa it was a near impossibility to win contracts because, while his company was bound by the restraints of CFPA, “the French would show up with white women and suitcases stuffed with cash”. The French always did have a practical side.

  6. AJ

    My favorite is the Lacey Act where you could get arrested and sent to prison for breaking the laws of a foreign country; even if those laws don’t apply to the country you broke those “laws” in, like the US, and even if those laws were actually never passed. That’s right you could go to jail for doing something in the US that’s illegal in another country, say for instance, China, but legal in the US. Here’s one well know example, but there are many:

    A Lobster Tale: Invalid Foreign Laws Lead to Years in U.S. Prison

    The Supreme Court is currently considering whether to take the case of four businesspeople sent to prison for importing lobster tails from Honduras. Their convictions are predicated on supposed violations of the Lacey Act, which makes it a crime to import “fish or wildlife taken … in violation of any foreign law.” Here, the foreign laws are Honduran fishing regulations that have been declared null and void in Honduras, but are somehow still being enforced by American federal courts…..

    Gibson Guitars is another example of abuse of the Lacey Act:


  7. bourke imprisoned in united states

    a guy like bourke must be bummin..he got a great jet but cant even leave the country with europe,no mexico,no canada. due to his sentence lasting till appeal. for a globe troota, that must make him hotta. no cant even go to bahamas to see ko-insany. wiretaps are out there. poor guy. he is a real go getter in real life and interesting person now stucjk in mud.

  8. Libertarian Advocate

    The Lacey Act is in fact insane and possibly unconstitutional in that it gives the Feds long arm criminal jurisdiction to enforce foreign laws for acts committed outside the territory of the United States. Once the Republicans return to power, this should be a priority no brainer repeal item. As it stands now, it’s really nothing more than a club for Obama to beat sensseless his political enemies and critics.

  9. Anonymous

    The US federal police state long arm of the law encircles the globe. The neo con and neo libs have effectivly joined together in plan to form a hybrid model of the current chinese political and economic system. The repugs arent going to repeal anything LA. Only Ron Paul would even try. Better wake up as certain elements of both sides of the aisle are conspiring against the american people.