Category: General

The Empowerment of the CCO: Old Ways Die Hard

“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”  — Will Rogers ” Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”  — John F. Kennedy The compliance profession continues to evolve and grow.  More lawyers and law students are seeking knowledge and training in the field of ethics...

The Importance of Conflicts of Interest Compliance

Character and personal force are the only investments that are worth anything. – Walt Whitman A company’s character includes avoiding the appearance of, or actual, conflicts of interest. Compliance professionals need to pay more attention to conflicts of interest. In some instances, companies have not even adopted conflict of interest compliance policies.  Some companies have a mere mention of the principle in their code of...

The Value of a Vigilant Internal Audit Program

I hate to write a negative column. It is contrary to my nature and perspective. It is easy to complain. It is far more difficult to come up with practical solutions. We all know colleagues who love to complain but do nothing about the problems they complain about. Eventually, a complainer loses value in an organization and they end up having little influence. Having said...

The Crystal Ball for Future FCPA Prosecutions for Internal Controls Violations (Part IV of IV)

The FCPA crystal ball is constantly shifting. Sometimes patterns emerge and trends become evident.   FCPA enforcement is fairly consistent with occasional blips.  What becomes trend setting often becomes the new norm.  Just look at the changes in Schedule C, and the compliance program requirements.  Look at the Schedule Cs from five years ago, and compare them to the Schedule Cs used now.  There have...

FCPA Books and Records and Internal Controls Enforcement – A Retrospective (Part III of IV)

Plan for the future because that’s where you are going to spend the rest of your life. – Mark Twain The SEC enforces its books and records and internal controls provisions, most of which involve non-FCPA violations. The Justice Department has responsibility for prosecuting criminal violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions. The interesting issue for both the SEC and the Justice...

Internal Accounting Controls – The Framework for Enforcement (Part II of IV)

When you review the actual law surrounding books and records and internal controls, you wonder to yourself what took the Justice Department and the SEC so long to discover the full power of the provisions. My explanation for this is pretty basic – when you have companies’ self-disclosing bribery violations, along with books and records violations, there is no need to develop ” “new” enforcement...

Internal Controls Enforcement (Part I of IV)

I was recently inspired by Tom Fox’s excellent writings on the COSO 2013 framework, and his examination of internal controls issues – see here, here, and here. Today, I begin my own series on internal controls but from a slightly different perspective. The Justice Department and the SEC are evolving FCPA enforcement strategies and theories. The SEC’s evolution is not so significant but its realization...

DPAs and “Reforming” Corporate Criminal Liability

The controversy surrounding Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPAs”) and Non- Prosecution Agreements (“NPAs”) continues to boil. In response to continuing criticism that the Justice Department is using DPAs and NPAs to coddle or let companies off the hook, the Justice Department has been channeling former President Regan’s famous speech in Berlin when he told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall. Criminal Division AAG Caldwell...

Corporate Branding and Ethics and Compliance Charters and Policies

There is a lot written on the value of symbols in political and public relations campaigns. My favorite President, Franklin Roosevelt, was a master at using symbols to communicate powerful ideas to the public. Ronald Reagan later adopted many similar approaches to influence public opinion. A company operates in much the same way, especially when it comes to ethics and compliance. In many respects, a...

Compliance Program Effectiveness Requires Accountability

A compliance program requires accountability. You can have ethics and you can have compliance policies, procedures and all the bells and whistles, but someone has to be accountable. Without it, a compliance program will just float along, waiting for the next catastrophe to hit. It is hard to watch an ethics and compliance program that is adrift. My nature is to face issues, make decisions...