Recently one of the most unlikely sources for praise of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) came out to inform us all that corporations are the cornerstone of FCPA compliance and enforcement. You may be surprised to find out it was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It came in the Chamber’s Amicus Curie filing in a case currently being considered by the Texas Supreme Court, Shell v. Writt, which is unusual because it is a state supreme court case, which touches on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
The issue before the Court is whether Shell’s internal FCPA investigation is absolutely privileged from a defamation claim by an individual named in the report as having violated the FCPA.
In its brief, the Chamber came out fully guns blazing in support of the FCPA and for full internal investigations and self-disclosure by companies by stating, “the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) has played a very significant role in the federal regulation of multinational corporations. By punishing bribery and other illicit influence of foreign officials by U.S. companies, the statute seeks to improve the integrity of American businesses, promote market efficiency, and maintain the reputation of American democracy abroad.”
The Chamber did not stop there, with its high praise of the FCPA and the importance of the FCPA and its enforcement for US businesses. The Chamber next turned to US businesses role in FCPA enforcement and compliance when it said, “the government has always relied upon businesses to cooperate with investigations and self-report any potential violations by corporate employees.
Thus internal investigations coupled with self-reporting provide both companies and the US government moving towards the same goal; greater compliance with the FCPA because the Chamber recognizes that the FPCA plays a vital role in international business and corruption prevention and prosecution. Finally, the Chamber acknowledges the importance of the FCPA for both US and international investors; both in the US and for companies abroad by concluding, “The FCPA is a valuable statute that helps to reduce corruption and to reinforce public and investor confidence in the markets here and abroad.”
The money line from the Chamber’s brief is the following, Corporate cooperation, internal investigation, and self-reporting thus form the cornerstone of FCPA compliance and enforcement. It could not be clearer from this statement the importance that a robust internal investigation protocol, coupled with self-disclosure bring to FCPA compliance.
A copy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce amicus brief to the Texas Supreme Court in Shell v. Writt is here (pdf).
Thomas Fox is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog. He’s the founder of the Houston-based boutique law firm tomfoxlaw.com. A popular speaker on compliance and risk-management topics, Fox is also the creator and writer of the widely followed FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog. His book Lessons Learned on Compliance and Ethics topped Amazon’s bestseller list for international law. He can be contacted here.