A friend of mine is woking on an issue I find fascinating. It’s illegal for a U.S. corporation to bribe a “foreign official.” If you want to do business in Uganda and, on a trip there, buy someone dinner only to find out later they are an appointed official in the Ugandan Govt., are you guilty of bribing? What is a “foreign official?” What are other nation’s standards for bribing “foreign officials?”
For decades U.S. companies who do international business have been self-reporting to the SEC in compliance with a little-known law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The law has been instrumental in elevating American businesses’ reputation throughout the world, but not without a price.
Enacted in 1977, the FCPA provides a much-needed requirement that U.S. businesses cannot bribe foreign officials. Everyone can agree this is important, but due to a lack of definition of “foreign official” and increased enforcement by the Department of Justice, many companies are, unfortunately, steering clear of international markets.
The global economy U.S. companies compete in today is drastically different than the conditions in 1977 when the FCPA became law. Nearly one third of our U.S. economy today comes from international business. In order for America’s job creators to continue to expand, it’s time for Congress to look at changes to the FCPA that will reduce the fear and uncertainty that plagues the U.S. business community while ensuring continued accountability.
Eric has more than sixteen years’ experience in state government and nonprofit organizations including the roles of Development Director at Iowa Christian Academy and Des Moines radio station Q99.5 KZZQ/Pulse 99.5. Eric has also worked in Governor Terry Branstad’s office during his fourth term and in the Division of Criminal Investigation. Eric ran for Iowa State House in 2004.Eric serves as a Curriculum Committee Member at the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, is President of Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education, and is Chair of the Iowa Educational Opportunities PAC. He is a thinker, hunter, hiker, backpacker, movie watcher, traveler, soccer-lover/player, and music fanatic with a predilection for theatre and art; especially photography. His two children keep him and his wife very busy and very grateful.
Eric also can be found on Twitter.
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