Factlet of the Day: Prosecuting Bribery Leads to More Prosecutions for Bribery

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Here’s a fascinating little factlet. The New York Times reports today that most big prosecutions under America’s anti-bribery law are against foreign companies. Siemens, for example, paid a fine of $800 million even though it’s a German company and the bribes in question were paid to Argentinians. Their American presence, however, was big enough to make them liable under U.S. law. American companies argue that this is a matter of leveling the playing field: they’re at a disadvantage competing against companies that feel free to pay bribes, so they’re eager for the Department of Justice to use its authority to put a stop to it.

But Henry Farrell points to a paper that concludes that these prosecutions also have a knock-on effect:

Holding all other variables constant, the odds of a country enforcing its first case [of bribery] are twenty times greater if a country has experienced extraterritorial application of the FCPA as compared to countries that have not.

“In other words,” says Henry, “many countries that have anti-bribery legislation on their books are disinclined to enforce this legislation against their firms, until the US makes an issue of prosecuting their firms for them. This results in a remarkably large rise in the likelihood of subsequent enforcement.”

I have no broader point to make about this at the moment. I just thought it was interesting.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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