At a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) conference in Washington, DC, yesterday, November, 8, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer announced that the US Department of Justice expects to release “detailed new guidance on the criminal and civil provisions” of the FCPA in 2012. Mr. Breuer added that DOJ was currently in the process of “further developing our ‘lay person’s guide’ to the FCPA and consolidating within it much of the information that is already available on the Criminal Division’s website.”

DOJ’s action may be in response to the US Chamber of Commerce’s (the “Chamber”) aggressive lobbying of Congress to amend the statute to clarify certain provisions such as the definition of “foreign official” or a “facilitating payment.” The Chamber is also proposing that Congress adopt a “compliance defense” similar to the UK Bribery Act’s “Adequate Procedures” defense as well as the elimination of “successor liability” for companies that inherit FCPA problems as a result of an acquisition or merger.

In response to Mr. Breuer’s announcement, the Chamber released a statement praising DOJ’s efforts. Lisa A. Rickard, president of the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, said in the release that they “believe that strong guidance from DOJ could be the foundation for lasting legislative improvements to the statute.” She also called DOJ’s announcement of its intent to issue detailed new FCPA guidance “a welcome acknowledgment of what we in the business community have long said—DOJ’s current FCPA enforcement procedures need clarification and modernization.”

To read Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer address to the 26th National Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, please click here.

To read the US Chamber of Commerce’s media release, please click here.