Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Fundamentals

25 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2011

See all articles by Jessica Tillipman

Jessica Tillipman

George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: September 2008


Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement activity is currently at its highest level since enactment of the statute in 1977. There were more enforcement actions brought in 2007 than in the years from 2004 to 2006 combined. The message is clear - the U.S. Government is committed to FCPA compliance and there is no evidence enforcement activity will slow any time soon. This article provides a general overview of the FCPA, including a primer on the legislation’s core components: the antibribery prohibitions and the books and records provisions. The article also provides practical guidance with respect to the more challenging provisions of the Act, including the two affirmative defenses and the legislation’s exception for “grease” or “facilitating” payments. The article also examines recent trends in FCPA enforcement, such as the increased prosecution of foreign companies and voluntary disclosures by corporate entities. This broad and practical overview of the FCPA is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about this robust anticorruption regime.

Keywords: FCPA, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Government Contracts, Procurement, Corruption, Anticorruption, Voluntary Disclosure, Bribery, Antibribery

JEL Classification: F23, G15, G18, G38, H10, H40, H50, H41, H54, H56, H57, H59, H77, K14, K19, K22, K23, K33, K42, L14,

Suggested Citation

Tillipman, Jessica, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Fundamentals (September 2008). Briefing Papers, No. 08-10, September 2008, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 585, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 585, Available at SSRN:

Jessica Tillipman (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
2029942896 (Phone)
2029943362 (Fax)


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