Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just Throw Money At It

(Editorial cartoon by Lee Judge / The Kansas City Star (April 25, 2012) and featured at McClatchy DC. Click on image to enlarge and then come on back.)

Lots of news since the New York Times article on Sunday revealing the extensive bribery of Mexican officials engaged in by Wal-Mart to get their big box toe hold. Perhaps the most important news to my mind is that once the upper echelon discovered that the federal law against such foreign bribery has some real teeth in it, they started pushing to weaken that law:

A blockbuster New York Times story published this weekend details how the Mexican subsidiary of retail giant Wal-Mart paid $24 million in bribes to Mexican officials — and subsequently top Wal-Mart officials allegedly decided to cover up these offenses.

The details of Wal-Mart’s complicity in bribery are shocking, but there is one important element that the Times did not report.

While Wal-Mart’s largest subsidiary spent millions of dollars systematically bribing Mexican officials, the company back home has been working, through big business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to weaken the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which renders it illegal for corporations to bribe officials in foreign countries. ...

To recap, this episode is an important anecdote about how corruption in America works today. First, a powerful corporation realizes that bribery is a part of its business model in some part of the world. Then, it tries to cover up aforementioned bribery. In case that doesn’t work, the corporation spends big back home to weaken laws against bribery. Finally, if all of that doesn’t work, and intrepid reporters at a place like the New York Times discover the wrongdoing, the corporation’s tactic is to deny that it had any ill intent at all.

See? Easy peasy.

Go read the whole Alternet article.

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Blogger Charles said...

Four words: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

2:53 PM  

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