The board’s audit and compliance committee should be alerted to a series of recent Department of Justice (DOJ) statements, policies and initiatives relating to the importance of effective compliance plans and to the continued focus on individual accountability.
This series speaks to several new compliance-related policies and initiatives. First is the proposed application of the “leniency” portions of the DOJ’s 2016 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Enforcement Policy to other criminal enforcement actions to which the FCPA does not directly relate (e.g., domestic health care fraud investigations). Second is the new DOJ policy that encourages coordination within DOJ and with other enforcement agencies when imposing multiple penalties for the same conduct (i.e., no “piling on”). Third is the formation of a new DOJ Working Group on Corporate Enforcement and Accountability, in order to promote consistency in white collar efforts. The Working Group will make internal recommendations with respect to white collar crime, corporate compliace and related issues.
These new initiatives are moving forward against consistent DOJ public comments that speak to the importance attributed to robust corporate compliance programs, and to the value DOJ attributes to corporate cooperation in the context of investigations. All of these topics are worth discussing with the audit and compliance committee (perhaps with the assistance of white collar counsel) for their relevance to program oversight and effectiveness.