Congress weighs changes in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The House is on the verge of amending the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to make it illegal to offer anything of value to employees of the International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank and other “international public organizations.”
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it a crime for US persons to offer anything of value to any foreign government official, candidate for office, or political party in an effort to win or retain business.
The Clinton administration asked Congress for a series of amendments to strengthen the government’s hand in fighting corruption.
Three are significant. One would add employees of international public organizations to the list of persons whom it is illegal to bribe. Another would clarify that it is illegal not only to give things of value to government officials in an effort to win or retain business, but also for the purpose of “securing any improper advantage.” Finally, the US government must prove currently that there was use of the US mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce in order to establish a crime. This requirement would effectively be dropped from the statute.
The Senate approved the amendments in late July. A House vote in possible before Congress adjourns in early October. The statute was last amended in 1988.