Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday!

I was born in 1977.

Yet for most of my life, nobody cared or talked much about me.

However, about seven years ago, my caretakers suggested that I change my look (get a new haircut, change my wardrobe, those sort of things).

Boy did that help.

In some circles at least, I am now the most popular person in the room.

Lawyers travel to the far reaches of the globe just to determine if I am relevant.

Corporations publicly disclose potential dates with me.

There are numerous seminars and training sessions about me.

Lawyers run to Washington D.C. (my birthplace) to tell my caretakers how relevant I am (when in fact I may not be relevant at all).

I even hear there are a few blogs devoted to me.

As you can see, it is a good time to be me.

Who am I?

Why of course I am the FCPA and today is my 33rd birthday!

There is much that happened during my 32nd year. I was frequently misapplied. Even when I was clearly relevant, my primary caretaker did not invite me to the party. My parents never intended me to be an all-purpose corporate ethics statute, but that is what I am becoming. Speaking of the parents, they examined how I am being enforced last month. Some have suggested reforming me - I am not opposed to this in some areas.


On December 19, 1977, the FCPA was enacted. On December 20, 1977, President Carter signed the FCPA into law.

Hosting an FCPA birthday party?

Here is the signing statement to read just before the candles are placed on the cake. After cake, instead of a game of “pin the cash-filled suitcase on the foreign official” how about a discussion as to whether the enacting Congress and President Carter would even recognize certain enforcement theories which have become a hallmark of current enforcement of the FCPA.

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