Washington, DC—This week, Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), co-chairs of the bipartisan Caucus against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy, introduced the Foreign Corruption Accountability Act, which would provide authority to sanction any foreign person engaged in corruption against a US person abroad—including businesspeople, NGOs, aid workers, and others.

 “This legislation will provide critical protections against corruption by authorizing the President to revoke the visas of those engaging in corruption targeting Americans around the world,” said Curtis. “Many businesses, and especially small businesses, do not have the resources to combat this type of corruption overseas. This bill will provide certainty for small businesses to invest around the globe—benefitting our economy and developing markets abroad for U.S. producers.”

“Our laws rightly prohibit American companies from bribing foreign officials to get contracts, but that means our companies are sometimes undercut by foreign competitors that can get away with bribery,” said Malinowski. “This legislation begins to level the playing field by holding accountable the corrupt foreign officials who solicit these bribes in the first place.”

Background

The Foreign Corruption Accountability Act is the second to be introduced in a series of bills as part of Counter-Kleptocracy Month, an initiative of the Caucus against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy. 

This bill closes a loophole in sanction authority which was discovered after a cobalt mine owner bribed the Congolese military to take land from a US businessowner. 

Because the person perpetrating the corruption was a private citizen, the US had no authority in statute to punish them. 

This bill closes that loophole and gives the President authority to ban visas for anyone deemed to have engaged in this sort of corruption against a US person. 

This bill was previously introduced in the 116th Congress under a different name.

Text can be viewed HERE.

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