Summary: S.414 — 98th Congress (1983-1984)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.414. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (02/03/1983)

Business Accounting and Foreign Trade Simplification Act - Changes the name of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) to the Business Practices and Records Act.

Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require securities issuers to maintain an internal accounting system that provides reasonable assurance that specified accountability and accuracy goals are met. Prohibits imposing criminal liability for failing to maintain such an accounting system. Prohibits imposing civil injunctive relief with respect to: (1) an issuer who fails to maintain the required accounting system if the issuer tried in good faith to meet the requirements; or (2) any person other than an issuer in connection with an issuer's failure to comply with such requirements, unless such person knowingly caused the issuer to fail to comply. Prohibits anyone from knowingly circumventing such an accounting system for a purpose inconsistent with the accountability and accuracy goals of such system. Requires only good faith efforts at ensuring compliance by issuers who hold 50 percent or less of the equity of domestic or foreign firms.

Transfers from the Securities and Exchange Commission to the Department of Justice jurisdiction to enforce the bribery prohibitions of the FCPA with respect to issuers.

Revises the prohibition against domestic concerns using any means of interstate commerce to further payments to obtain business with a foreign official. States that such a payment made "directly or indirectly" to a foreign official is illegal. Prohibits such payments that are made to: (1) influence a foreign official's act or induce such an official to violate a legal duty; or (2) induce a foreign official to affect a foreign government's act. Prohibits domestic concerns from using interstate commerce to direct or authorize an agent to further such a payment to a foreign official.

Exempts from such prohibitions: (1) payments to foreign officials to expedite or to secure the performance of routine governmental action; (2) payments to such officials that are lawful under the foreign country's laws; (3) payments which constitute tokens of regard or esteem; (4) expenditures associated with selling, purchasing, or demonstrating goods; or (5) ordinary expenditures associated with performing a contract with a foreign government.

Revises the fines and criminal penalties for violations of such Act. Empowers the Attorney General to undertake all civil investigations necessary to enforce the Act.

Prohibits prosecution of a domestic concern or specified agents of such concern for violating the Federal mail or wire fraud provisions by making a payment to a foreign official if the prosecution is based on the theory that the official, by receiving the payment, violated a duty to or defrauded the foreign government or the citizens of a foreign country.

Authorizes the Attorney General to issue guidelines specifying: (1) permissible conduct associated with common types of export sales arrangements; and (2) precautionary procedures which would create a rebuttable presumption of compliance.

Provides for the establishment of a Business Practices and Records Act Review Procedure to answer specific inquires concerning enforcement of such Act. Requires the Attorney General to issue opinions rearding compliance. Makes such opinions final and binding on all parties if the opinion states that the conduct does not involve a violation. Directs the Attorney General to protect the confidentiality of materials submitted in the review procedure.

Requires annual reports to Congress by: (1) the Attorney General concerning actions taken pursuant to such Act; and (2) the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning the reporting requirements.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that the President should negotiate an international agreement on illicit payments, including a dispute resolution procedure.

Directs the President to report to Congress on: (1) the progress of such negotiations; (2) the steps the United States could take if the negotiations fail to eliminate the competitive disadvantage of U.S. business; and (3) possible methods of promoting international cooperation to prevent bribery in third world countries. Requires the report to contain recommendations for new legislation and an analysis of the potential effect on U.S. interests of the corruption of foreign officials and political leaders.