New DOJ/SEC Guide Makes Clear Statement: Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations, Compliance and Ethics Programs Matter in FCPA Enforcement

Arlington, VA –  Ethics Resource Center (ERC) President Patricia J. Harned made the following remarks after reviewing A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The Department of Justice (DoJ) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released the guide Wednesday, which provides a detailed discussion regarding enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  In a section emphasizing the critical role of senior and middle managers in establishing a culture of compliance, the report cites findings from the ERC’s National Business Ethics Survey(r) (NBES(r)).

“We applaud the DOJ and SEC for this unprecedented joint effort to address the enforcement of the FCPA. Most businesses wish to compete fairly in foreign markets, and historically the expectations and priorities of the enforcement community with regard to the FCPA have been difficult to discern.  To that end, the Guide provides extensive detail that answers many important questions.

“We commend the DOJ and SEC for emphasizing the importance of effective corporate compliance and ethics programs, and pointing to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations (FSGO) as a framework for evaluating a pre-existing program. When an organization builds a program based upon the elements described in the FSGO, they reduce the risk of noncompliance. To the extent that the DOJ and SEC reinforce these elements as they give credit for a pre-existing program, they will encourage corporate investment in  compliance and ethics practices that improve conduct.”

Source: Adam R. Benson, Ethics Resource Center

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