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License to Bribe

How the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Fight to Weaken Anti-Corruption Law Threatens the Global Economy, Small Business and Democracy

Nov. 21, 2013 — The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has made the United States a leader in the fight against corruption for more than 30 years. This statute prohibits companies and individuals from trading anything of value to government officials in exchange for favorable business treatment.

Despite the global recognition of corruption as a serious issue, in 2010 groups purporting to support American enterprise began a concerted attack on the FCPA, demanding changes to the law that would harm American businesses. One of the most vocal of these groups has been the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (U.S. Chamber) – a trade association supported financially by large corporations. In 2010, the U.S. Chamber released a report through its Institute for Legal Reform that listed five specific changes it believed should be made to the FCPA.

The primary purpose of this report is to examine these recommendations and to argue that, far from helping American businesses and the economy at large, weakening the FCPA would hurt American businesses and consumers, threaten economic stability domestically and internationally, and damage our credibility in the international community.

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