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Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Bill Steinman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah
Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

The Dog Ate Our Homework

We had a nice post ready for today. Really. Then we remembered the 11:59 p.m. deadline on May 31 for the 2008 TRACE International essay contest on fighting public bribery. There were only a few hours to go so in desperation we sent our post off as our entry. TRACE, by the way, is a non-profit group that conducts due diligence and compliance training for intermediaries — agents, joint venture partners, distributors and the like. We wanted to be part of the essay contest, which drew 120 entries last year. So here we are with no post and a rather flimsy excuse on top of it.

It’s embarrassing to have mailed away the blog’s work product. If we hadn’t done that, we’d be using this space right now to talk about our favorite subject: in-house compliance training. How much we always learn from the sessions. How we enjoy talking about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with company personnel from management, marketing, operations and more — and how the training sessions go far beyond the mere words of the FCPA.

But we can’t say too much. TRACE, we noticed, has rules intended to protect the integrity of its essay contest. Entries must be original and unpublished. So we’re scrupulously avoiding any hint of self-plagiarizing. Imagine how bad it would look if the FCPA Blog triggered a scandal in an essay contest about fighting corruption through ethical practices? Oh boy. We’d need a new identity just to get dinner at home.

So until the post flew out of our hands, we intended to mention that FCPA training is required for an effective compliance program. Now, constrained by the rulebook, we can’t even talk about that. We can only reproduce below part of the 2005 Federal Sentencing Guidelines, trusting that curious readers will ponder why:

The organization shall take reasonable steps to communicate periodically and in a practical manner its standards and procedures, and other aspects of the compliance and ethics program, to the individuals [responsible for compliance] by conducting effective training programs and otherwise disseminating information appropriate to such individuals’ respective roles and responsibilities.

And finally, to tie it all together, we would have tossed in some nice examples to show how training can prevent FCPA violations; or uncover them; or even reveal who in the company may be heading for a compliance meltdown.

Gosh, it really would have been a good post. Too bad all we’ve got to show for it is the fuzzy screen shot above. Here’s our plan, though. If we win the essay contest, we’ll seek permission to “reprint” our post right here, with full credit to TRACE for all the great compliance work they’re doing. If we lose, which we concede to be the overwhelmingly probable outcome, we’ll be free to use the post anyway.

The judges will decide by September, TRACE says. Meanwhile, we’ll get back to work — and hope this humbling editorial debacle will soon be forgotten.

Visit TRACE International here.

View Chapter 8 – PART B – §8B2.1. (“Effective Compliance and Ethics Program”) of the 2005 U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines here.

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