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Thanks, Mr. President, for giving us a better future

Kudos to the FCPA Blog headline writer who “visited the ghost of the FCPA past” in a post about the Senate’s great debate of the bill that became the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is good that an event so momentous (given our current ongoing battle with corruption) can generate such a humorous headline so many years later.

Under the funny headline, the substance of the post was important. I concur with Dick Cassin’s observation that the wording of the 1977 senate report is as pertinent now as it was back then, in particular the effect corruption has on a country’s international standing and how it is perceived by others.

By touching on the issue of tarnished international image, with corruption undermining democracy and financial integrity, the Carter administration probably had no inkling as to how big the problem would become, nor the negative impact that subsequent corruption would have across the globe.

No governments and no political leaders are perfect, and President Carter had shortcomings. But give recognition where it is due. All of us engaged in this struggle should be thankful to the man for these initial strides so many years ago towards international and financial integrity.

Then-Secretary of the Treasury Blumenthal made the point nearly 40 years ago that “Paying bribes … is simply not necessary for the successful conduct of business here or overseas.”

There will be many who might argue this point, believing that unless they grease the right palms with silver then lucrative contracts will be awarded elsewhere. I personally believe that those who are so-minded are gradually reducing in number, as recently enacted international legislation designed to reduce corruption begins to take effect.

For me the response is clear: We should thank the U.S. Congress and Jimmy Carter for guiding us onto this difficult but righteous course.

Happy New Year to all, and here’s to a reduction in bribery and corruption in 2016.


Martin Kenney is Managing Partner of Martin Kenney & Co., Solicitors, a specialist investigative and asset recovery practice focused on multi-jurisdictional fraud cases |@MKSolicitors.

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