Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Congressmen Dingell Bungles the FCPA

Politicians often make curious comments. Including when an election is near.

Case in point, Congressman John Dingell who finds himself in a closer than expected election (See yesterday's Wall Street Journal "Veteran Congressman Feels Heat.")

Yesterday, Dingell released a letter (here) to John Krafcik, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America Corporation challenging statements Krafcik recently made in which Krafcik "implied Hyundai is more American than U.S. based automobile companies."

Dingell's letter states "[a]s a member of Congress who represents thousands of American workers in the U.S. automobile industry, I find this implication curious and, quite frankly, misleading."

Want to know what I find curious, and quite frankly, misleading?

How Dingell (a lawyer) seems to understand very little about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In his letter Dingell asks Krafcik two FCPA related questions.

The first - "[g]iven your comments about Hyundai’s being more American than U.S.-based automakers [...] will Hyundai publicly commit to complying with all applicable parts of U.S. statute, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)?"

Newsflash - Hyundai Motor America Corporation, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea, is a Florida corporation (see here) headquartered in Fountain Valley, California. In other words, it is a "domestic concern" under the FCPA and subject to the FCPA. Given this, I don't see why Hyundai would be the least bit hesitant to publicly commit to complying with a law it is subject to.

The second - "[w]ith respect to compliance with the FCPA, will Hyundai publicly commit to halting sales or the manufacture of its vehicles in Iran?"

Newsflash - the FCPA is silent as to doing business in any particular country or doing business with a foreign government directly. The FCPA's anti-bribery provisions generally prohibit the offering or payment of "anything of value" to a "foreign official" to "obtain or retain business." In sum, Dingell's second question may perhaps raise a valid concern, and the question, as he phrased it, may perhaps raise issues under other U.S. laws - just not the FCPA.

1 comment:

  1. It is truly sad when the ones who are writing our laws have such a poor understanding of what the content of those laws are!