by Vikrant Reddy
Texas Public Policy Foundation
February 10, 2014
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a federal statute prohibiting international bribery, has been law since 1977. FCPA investigations by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were rare during the statute’s first 25 years, but FCPA prosecutions brought between 2001 and 2006 numbered more than four times that of the previous five years. In 2010, the DOJ pursued a record 48 cases and the SEC pursued 26. The United States should not ignore international bribery by companies under its jurisdiction. However, the FCPA is emblematic of all the worst aspects of creeping federal overcriminalization. It is not clear that the FCPA has done anything to tackle real corruption, meanwhile discouraging American investment in impoverished nations and stunting company growth. Modest tweaks to the statute would better ensure that the FCPA is fulfilling its mission without unduly infringing on economic liberty and hampering economic growth.



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