In an article published in the Policy and Regulatory Report, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Litigation Shareholder Matthew J. Feeley explained that the ongoing Wal-Mart Federal Corrupt Practices Act investigation will likely impact policy decisions in Washington.
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“Wal-Mart hasn’t helped the issue either because Wal-Mart had a world class compliance program – it just didn’t work,” Feeley explained, noting allegations that senior management suppressed an internal investigation into bribery charges.
According to the article, the Department of Justice is unlikely to offer companies the option of a so-called “compliance defense,” which “would protect companies from enforcement action for rogue violations if a company has a ‘legitimate’ compliance program of checks and balances in place.”
“Out of all the reforms advocated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, I’m the least optimistic about a compliance defense,” Feeley said, adding that the Department of Justice is concerned such a defense allows companies to “wash their hands” of FCPA risk.
“[The DoJ] believes this will lead the way for backsliding in monitoring efforts – particularly in regard to low-level employees,” Feeley said. “We may see more language about a robust compliance…program going a long way to increase the ‘credit’ given in enforcement actions, but I don’t think we’ll see any language like that found in UK Bribery Act.”