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The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

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Today's Claude Rains Award for Mock Shock goes to AAG Lanny Breuer, who triumphantly announced the conviction of a corporation, Lindsey Manufacturing Co., for paying a bribe to get a contract in Mexico.  Nathan Koppel has this post at WSJ Blog.

Okay, all together now.  We are shocked, shocked, to learn that there is bribery in Mexico.

So why is this a crime against the United States?  Has Congress made it a crime for US companies to do business in countries where bribery is pandemic?  Back to Logic 101, the syllogism goes like this:

1.  It is a US federal crime for a US business to pay a bribe in a foreign country.
2.  In country X, bribery is so pervasive that it is effectively impossible to do business without paying bribes.
Therefore, in country X it is a US federal crime for a US company to do business.

Yes, I guess Congress has made it a US crime to do business in some countries.

Koppel's post notes the "ominous milestone" of convicting the corporation itself, a first.  " 'Lindsey Manufacturing is the first company to be tried and convicted on FCPA violations, but it will not be the last,' said the DOJ's Lanny Breuer."

Why?  Would you arrest someone for littering if he drops his empty Starbucks cup in the middle of the county dump?

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"Would you arrest someone for littering if he drops his empty Starbucks cup in the middle of the county dump?"

Pretty much sums it up . . . .

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