I am thankful for my family and friends and for the many opportunities I have received in the USA. I am also thankful for my extended family at Transparency International who are passionately engaged in the fight
I am grateful to the U.S. Federal Judges who said in 2013 that they would not sign off any longer on dollar-settlements with the Big Banks and others, unless there was an admission by somebody that they had done something wrong.
Like children and our votes, there are some things money cannot buy; public forgiveness for reckless misconduct that hurt so many should be one of them.
I am thankful for the compliance officers, business leaders, NGOs, whistleblowers, journalists and the public who want to see real accountability and enforcement in 2014.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my wonderful friends and family. I am also particularly thankful for Dick Cassin and my other colleagues who write for the FCPA Blog (as well as the many anti-corruption professionals I’ve met through my work on the blog). Finally, I am thankful for my amazing dogs, Annie and Stewie (and the fact that we no longer have to worry about bribing Annie to behave properly). Happy Thanksgiving!
Pausing for a moment to feel gratitude is a welcome break, particularly for those of us working in a field where greed, lust, nearly pathological selfishness and impunity seem at times to be the new normal. Let me offer a different view for this moment.
In the last decade we have lived through a global shift in norms. When the FCPA was enacted in the 1970s it was viewed by many as a quaint American utopian fantasy. Today the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention is a forceful cooperative (and sometimes competitive) coalition of major economic powers. The U.N. Convention Against Corruption is already taking root globally among developing and developed economies.
As a veteran foot soldier in several earth-shaking global reform movements, from the struggle for racial justice, to the explosion of energy now known as the womens’ movements, to the environmental movements, I was privileged to be there as each movement found its roots and began to expand.
The crown jewel of the movements for global justice is the anti-corruption effort. Like murder, rape and bigotry, reforms will never totally eradicate corruption. I should know — I’m from Chicago. Yet participating in this great shift has been the most important work of my lifetime. I am truly thankful to have lived long enough to see some real successes.
I hope the FCPA Blog will take nominations for our veterans and heroes who struggled against corruption, some of whom were not lucky to live long enough to see the fruits of the FCPA and the OECD and UN Conventions. I would like to begin by nominating the late John Noonan, author of the seminal book Bribes, the late Stanley Sporkin, Director of Enforcement for the SEC who pushed the FCPA into existence, and the very much alive Susan Rose-Ackerman of Yale whose scholarship has led the field for decades.
— Elizabeth Spahn
[Editor’s note: Professor Spahn’s most recent article is Implementing Global Anti-Bribery Norms from the FCPA to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention to the U.N. Convention Against Corruption, 23 Indiana Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 1 (2013), http://ssrn.com/abstract=2338573.]
I’m thankful to have had another year when I could spend time with people I love and do the work I love — often at the same time. That’s a double portion if ever there was one.
I am thankful for having a new job that I love, and the supportive contributing editors, engaged and passionate readers, and inspiring founder who make it such a pleasure.
And for the man in my life who believes in me, even when I am not acting my most believe-in-able.
I am thankful for all those who make possible a life of joy: my wife, my daughters, my government, my God.
My Thanksgiving message is threefold: gratitude for my friends and family; gratitude for things that I can perceive as obstacles but which are always invitations to learn and progress; and gratitude for being part of the extraordinary FCPA Blog adventure. It is a true privilege to be part of the team.
Many thanks to Lilian, Coco and Annie for their encouragement, and many thanks to the FCPA Blog and its readers for their support. Happy holidays!
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