by Jim Zarroli, NPRNovember 2017

President Trump has called it “ridiculous,” a “horrible law” that made it difficult for U.S. companies to compete overseas.

But the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars businesses from paying bribes to overseas officials, remains a key part of U.S. efforts to combat global corruption.

Now one study is showing the Trump administration’s use of the law may be declining, even as administration officials say they’re committed to enforcing it.

The law was passed in 1977. Some 400 U.S. companies, including big names like Lockheed and Chiquita, had acknowledged they had paid off foreign officials to win business.

“Many companies were making routine bribes to the heads of governments and others in countries, just to simply buy the business,” said Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs and strategy at Issue One, a nonprofit organization that looks at money in politics.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act applies to any company with a U.S. connection. Companies that have been prosecuted over the years include Siemens, Goodyear, Daimler AG, Alcoa and Halliburton. Click To Tweet
Authoritarians will trust their leaders no matter what they say, and distrust whomever the leader says to distrust.

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