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Under New Chairman, S.E.C. Enforcer Role Might Shrink (The New York Times)

The New York Times, January 9, 2017

Under New Chairman, S.E.C. Enforcer Role Might Shrink

“The announcement by President-elect Donald J. Trump that he will nominate Walter J. Clayton, a quintessential Wall Street deal lawyer, as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission raises questions about how securities laws will be enforced during the new administration….One hint involves a 2011 report by a committee of the New York City Bar Association headed by Mr. Clayton that criticized how aggressively prosecutors and the S.E.C. have applied the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribery of foreign officials to obtain business. The report argued that broad application of the law hamstrings American companies in the global marketplace when other countries do not police their companies as closely. One of the conclusions was that ‘the continued unilateral and zealous enforcement of the F.C.P.A. by the United States may not be the most effective means to combat corruption globally — in fact, in some circumstances it may exacerbate the problem of overseas corruption.’ The report was part of a concerted effort, led by the Chamber of Commerce, to cut back on the scope of the act so that businesses did not face potentially significant costs from dealings in countries in which corruption was endemic.”

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