So far in 2022, there have been four FCPA enforcement actions totaling $865 million in penalties and disgorgement. That pushes all-time FCPA resolutions over $24 billion.
Since the FCPA was enacted in 1977, there have been 259 FCPA corporate enforcement actions with an average value of $95.4 million. From 1977 to 2010, total FCPA settlements amounted to $3.6 billion. From 2011 to 2022 (June), total FCPA settlements climbed to $21.2 billion.
In the past eleven years, the monetary value of settlements was six times more than in the first 33 years of the FCPA.
Here are three things the U.S. Treasury could do with that money:
- Fund Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for 1,120 years.
- Fund Doctors Without Borders for 15 years.
- Fund the entire National School Lunch Program for a year and a half.
No one knows what happens to the money after it is paid to the U.S. Treasury, and not all of the $24 billion ended up in the United States. Some penalties ordered by the DOJ and SEC are partially credited when paid to foreign governments.
I was on a conference call recently with some FCPA legends. The conversation turned to building trust for anti-corruption efforts in developing countries, where people are jaded and cynical after years of broken promises and no apparent progress.
One idea was public works projects promoted as “anti-corruption funded.” Penalties would be poured back into the local communities, for projects to improve daily life for citizens: better roads, school supplies, drinking water infrastructure, medical resources.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know where FCPA settlement money goes? Not knowing seems like a missed opportunity.