Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Domestic and Foreign Investment Improved Disclosure Act
  • Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Amendment
  • Unlawful Corporate Payments Act
Long titleAn Act to amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to make it unlawful for an issuer of securities registered pursuant to section 12 of such Act or an issuer required to file reports pursuant to section 15(d) of such Act to make certain payments to foreign officials and other foreign persons, to require such issuers to maintain accurate records, and for other purposes.
Acronyms (colloquial)FCPA
NicknamesForeign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977
Enacted bythe 95th United States Congress
EffectiveDecember 19, 1977
Public law95-213
Statutes at Large91 Stat. 1494
Titles amended15 U.S.C.: Commerce and Trade
U.S.C. sections amended15 U.S.C. ch. 2B § 78a et seq.
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 305 by William Proxmire (D-WI) on January 18, 1977
  • Committee consideration by Senate Banking, House Commerce
  • Passed the Senate on May 5, 1977 (passed)
  • Passed the House on November 1, 1977 (passed, in lieu of H.R. 3815)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on December 6, 1977; agreed to by the Senate on December 6, 1977 (agreed) and by the House on December 7, 1977 (349-0)
  • Signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on December 19, 1977

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) (15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1, et seq.) is a United States federal law that prohibits U.S. citizens and entities from bribing foreign government officials to benefit their business interests.[1]

The FCPA is applicable worldwide and extends specifically to publicly traded companies and their personnel, including officers, directors, employees, shareholders, and agents. Following amendments made in 1998, the Act also applies to foreign firms and persons who, either directly or through intermediaries, help facilitate or carry out corrupt payments in U.S. territory.[2]

Pursuant to its anti-bribery purpose, the FCPA amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require all companies with securities listed in the U.S. to meet certain accounting provisions, such as ensuring accurate and transparent financial records and maintaining internal accounting controls.[3]

The FCPA is jointly enforced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which apply criminal and civil penalties respectively.[4]

Since its passage, the FCPA has been subject to controversy and criticism,[5] namely whether its enforcement discourages U.S. companies from investing abroad.[6] The Act was subsequently amended in 1988 to raise the standard of proof for a finding of bribery.[4]

  1. ^ "Foreign Corrupt Practices Act". June 9, 2015. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  2. ^ " | Spotlight on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act". Archived from the original on March 2, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  3. ^ Funk, T. Markus (September 10, 2010). "Getting What They Pay For: The Far-Reaching Impact Of the Dodd-Frank Act's 'Whistleblower Bounty' Incentives on FCPA Enforcement" (PDF). White Collar Crime Report. Bureau of National Affairs. 5 (19): 1–3. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 30, 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Seitzinger, Michael V. (March 15, 2016). "Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Congressional Interest and Executive Enforcement, In Brief" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 21, 2020.
  5. ^ LeRoy Miller, Roger (2011). Business Law Today: The Essentials. United States: South-Western Cengage Learning. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-133-19135-3.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference :0 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

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