An often-heard complaint in the compliance community is that the U.S. Department of Justice doesn’t issue “guidance” to help individuals and companies comply with the FCPA. But that’s not strictly true.
More than twenty years ago, Congress directed the Department of Justice to provide guidance to potential exporters and small businesses to help them understand their obligations under the law.
The result was the “Lay Person’s Guide to FCPA,” a short, lucid explanation of the FCPA’s antibribery provisions.
The value in the Lay Person’s Guide is two-fold. First, as a plain-English description of the FCPA, it is unsurpassed. In just a few pages it covers what the law requires and prohibits, who it applies to, what defenses are available, and what the penalties for offenses may include.
Second, the “Lay Person’s Guide” is the Justice Department’s own view of the FCPA and how it should be enforced. To read the words directly from the DOJ, unfiltered by lawyers or scholars who always have some other point in mind, offers a valuable and unique insight into the prosecutorial mindset. Without question, the no-nonsense approach on display in the “Lay Person’s Guide” has also been evident in the DOJ’s prosecution of FCPA violators.
When it comes to the FCPA, the Justice Department doesn’t split hairs, and neither should those trying to comply with it.
From the introduction to “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 with the Lay Person’s Guide to FCPA and Federal Sentencing Guidelines – Chapter 8, Part B,” available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.