The passing of Labor Day marks the advent of a new season. In my new home state of Virginia, the heat has softened and the riverside trees take on a faint yellow; for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, perhaps the winter wanes and blossoms bud. So too are we entering a new season of FCPA deliberations.
Congress will shortly reconvene, but the political winds have plainly changed; Hurricane Wal-Mart has halted the reform effort, not permanently but for a time.
And as with all seasonal changes, ours creates a chance for growth. The reform movement has up to now focused on a few narrow proposals: good-faith compliance, successor liability, parent/subsidiary liability, the definition of foreign official. We were right to pick our battles; an effective reform movement must train its sights on a precise target. But with congressional activity no longer imminent, perhaps we can raise our sights a bit — take a higher vantage point, see the bigger picture, imagine and seek out less familiar places.
Virginians have always been explorers. I’d like to try to be one now. I’m going to take you to what might be called “unchartered corners” of FCPA reform. In a paper by that name, I’ve tried to map out some unfamiliar ways to think about FCPA reform. See these proposals as you might an old map — exploratory, perhaps imprecise, still incomplete — but meant to excite the human spirit.
In three subsequent posts, I’ll try to take you there. Stay with me.
Andy Spalding is the senior editor of the FCPA Blog. A former Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in Asia, he’s Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.