retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, yet again are lobbying the US Congress to amend the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars US businesses from lobbying foreign officials, and which they say is too ambiguous.

The story says that businesses are seeking "additional safeguards by which companies would escape criminal liability for the misconduct of individual employees if they already have strong safeguards and internal compliance systems in place."

According to Reuters, "U.S. authorities have significantly stepped up enforcement of the FCPA in recent years, extracting hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent, KBR and others." In addition, "some of the largest U.S. firms, including Wal-Mart and Avon Products Inc, have already spent hundreds of millions on internal investigations into potential misconduct."
KC's View:
On the one hand, "don't bribe foreign officials" seems like a fairly unambiguous rule. (Exactly what is the confusion here?)

On the other hand, I get the idea that sometimes people go rogue and behave in ways not sanctioned by their companies, and maybe there ought to be some protections.

However ... I also think that this sort of change in the law could be called the "scapegoating amendment," because it will open all sorts of doors to companies blaming individuals and creating scenarios of plausible deniability. (Maybe the amendment could include a clause that says "if you try to scapegoat one of your employees and are found guilty, the fine will be automatically doubled.")