When mining, timber, or other natural resource industries bribe public officials in exchange for special access to environmentally sensitive land or buy the silence of officials who witness wrongdoing, they undermine efforts to combat climate change, destroy lands needed for local farming, and poison clean drinking water supplies. Bribes have been used to undermine public health and safety, ignore national security risks, and divert scarce taxpayer money to wasteful or harmful projects.
Bribery is not a victimless crime. It allows a small group of well-connected people to play by a different set of rules at the expense of the rest of us.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), passed in 1977, is our nation’s first and best line of defense against international bribery. It prohibits U.S. companies from “exporting corruption” by bribing foreign officials and has served as a model for the world. We need to protect the FCPA, ensure its robust enforcement, and expand it through new measures that combat both the supply and demand side of bribery.