Summary of Actions Being Taken in the United States To Control Questionable Corporate Payments in Foreign Countries

OP-77-1: Published: May 2, 1977. Publicly Released: May 2, 1977.

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Payments by American corporations to foreign government officials or others to obtain business advantages have had a political impact on the countries involved and have undermined confidence in public and private institutions. In response, a series of actions were taken by the President and Congress.

Hearings were held by congressional committees and bills were introduced dealing with: circumstances and legality of corporate payments, development of a code of conduct for international trade, and U.S. policy and criminal penalties related to corporate bribery. Laws were passed with provisions for discontinuing foreign assistance or foreign tax benefits where illegal bribes were determined. A task force, established by former President Ford, provided interim suggestions and proposed legislation with payments-reporting requirements. A proposed international agreement on corrupt practices was introduced at a United Nations forum. Actions by concerned government agencies included enforcing securities regulations, utilizing antitrust laws, determining tax fraud, presenting criminal cases, and auditing transactions. The private sector also has been seeking solutions. GAO, in auditing negotiated contracts, generally refers violations to the procuring agency.

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