Lanny Breuer is taking the government's new anti-corruption resource guide on a roadshow today, speaking at legal events in the Washington area just days after the publication of a much-anticipated memo that clarifies the scope of enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
This morning Breuer was in National Harbor, Md., to address the American Conference Institute's annual conference on corruption. Breuer this afternoon is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion at the Federalist Society convention in Washington.
Breuer was supposed to address the American Conference Institute yesterday. But the announcement of BP's guilty pleas in the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill trumped his speech. Breuer didn’t mention BP's fines and penalty today in his prepared remarks. F. Joseph Warin of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a lawyer for BP in the criminal case, introduced Breuer today at the conference.
But back to the FCPA. Breuer dedicated the start of his remarks to a description of DOJ's overall anti-corruption fight. Breuer, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Criminal Division, said the department has more than doubled the number of prosecutors working to enforce foreign bribery laws.
Breuer then jumped to the new FCPA guidance memo, a 120-page document that DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission unveiled earlier this week. The guidance offers an assessment of key provisions of the FCPA, hypothetical scenarios and "best practices" for corporate compliance.
"Transparency is, of course, a worthwhile goal all by itself," Breuer said in his prepared remarks. "We want U.S. businesses, foreign officials, non-governmental organizations and others to understand why we prosecute FCPA cases as vigorously as we do, and also how and why we make our charging decisions."
Breuer noted that "no guide will satisfy every constituency, and I would be surprised if the people in this room thought the guide answered all of their questions." He continued: "It's fair to say that the guide is one of the most comprehensive efforts" to explain how and why the government enforces the FCPA—a law on the books since 1977.
"The idea that a company could get away with bribing foreign officials for the sake of corporate profits didn’t make sense 35 years ago," Breuer said. "It doesn’t make sense today."
At the Federalist Society panel this afternoon, Breuer is scheduled to talk shop with a crew of former top-level DOJ lawyers: former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, now a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton; Morgan Lewis & Bockius partner George Terwilliger III, a former deputy attorney general; and Mark Mendelsohn, who supervised FCPA work in Breuer's division before joining Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in 2010.