CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Judge on The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act

Daniel T. Judge (University of Notre Dame - Notre Dame Law School) has posted 'Receiver Beware': How the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act Could Change the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (2020 U. Ill. L. Rev. Online 152 (Aug. 26, 2020)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
On August 2, 2019, Representative Sheila Lee Jackson introduced the “Foreign Extortion Prevention Act” (FEPA). If enacted, the FEPA will amend title 18 of the United States Code to prohibit a foreign official from demanding a bribe. As such, the FEPA has the potential to profoundly impact the ways in which criminal prosecutions are conducted and the nature of business and nation-state relationships throughout the world. As a result, it offers a unique opportunity to reevaluate U.S. extortion laws (or the lack thereof), discuss the theories underlying anti-bribery and extortion prosecutions, and compare the United States’ legal system to that of its international counterparts.

This Article seeks to evaluate the FEPA on its merits.
It does so in four parts. First, it introduces the FEPA’s predecessor and counterpart: the “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” (FCPA). Second, it introduces and considers the four corners of the FEPA. Third, it compares this proposed law to anti-bribery and anti-extortion laws abroad. Finally, this Article evaluates the arguments for and against enacting the FEPA.

In general, the FEPA should be welcomed as an opportunity to simplify foreign extortion prosecutions, clarify existing U.S. policy and law, and realign U.S. anti-corruption laws with the international community’s best practices. However, this Article argues that if the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act is enacted, U.S. lawmakers should view it merely as a first step in the criminalization of foreign extortion, not the final one.

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