It’s been a quiet time here at the FCPA Blog. Not much to report — which isn’t a bad thing. We’ve had a chance to clean our desk, get our shoes shined, and pick on Wikipedia. On that score, we even had time to submit some edits for Wiki’s FCPA article. Now we’re biting our nails, waiting for the editorial lords to make a ruling on our hoped-for alterations.
Still, we’re wondering why it’s so quiet, why the Department of Justice hasn’t announced a deferred prosecution agreement since Flowserve’s on February 21? We know from various public disclosures that companies are standing in line. Faro Technologies, Inc. is one of them (see our post here). Aon Corporation could be another (see our post here), and there are more.
We’re not sure why there seems to be a moratorium on FCPA settlements right now. But it could be linked to what’s happening in Washington. As we mentioned yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law is holding hearings this week. The hearings have the moniker: “Deferred Prosecution: Should Corporate Settlement Agreements Be Without Guidelines?” And sparks are flying.
It’s fair to say that all aspects of deferred prosecution agreements are in play. Media attention has focused on the corporate monitorships. That’s due mainly to New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s appointment of his former boss, ex-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, as a monitor for orthopedic device maker Zimmer Holdings Inc. The case involves domestic bribery. Mr. Ashcroft’s firm could make as much as $52 million from the appointment. Not surprisingly, that ignited the controversy that now engulfs every aspect of the monitorships and even the idea of deferred prosecution agreements.
While the storm blows on Capitol Hill, the DOJ can’t be anxious to announce any new agreements and monitorships just yet. And no company would want to get caught in the political crossfire by being part of a fresh settlement, just as potential monitors wouldn’t risk an appointment while the flap over Mr. Ashcroft et al is in the news.
All this is speculation, to be sure. Perhaps the DOJ will make a formal announcement about what’s happening, or at least send out some smoke signals, to let everyone know if we’re in for a long wait. Meanwhile, we’re off to get a haircut, wash the car and catch some zzzzzzzzz. What a life!
Thanks to photo.jacko.com for the great picture.