Chapter 1: Before the new era: the story of the FCPA and its early enforcement
In a book titled 'The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a New Era', it may seem odd to begin by rewinding the clock back to a different era. However, to best understand and appreciate the FCPA's new era, it is first necessary to understand and appreciate why the FCPA became a law in 1977. As with most new laws, the FCPA did not appear out of thin air. Rather, real events and real policy reasons motivated Congress to act and pass the FCPA, and this chapter begins by telling the FCPA's story. In this chapter, you will also be introduced to early FCPA enforcement and understand how the FCPA matured through its 1988 and 1998 amendments into its modern form. Why Congress enacted the FCPA and what conduct Congress sought to capture by the law are topics that are often overlooked in this new era. However, the FCPA's legislative history is important and the Supreme Court has noted that the legislative history of a statute is frequently the most fruitful source of instruction as to its proper interpretation. In the FCPA context, an appellate court explained: Our task in interpreting the FCPA 'is to construe the language so as to give effect to the intent of Congress.