Political law links today: J&J FCPA case, disclosure and democracy, no smooth sledding for VT CFR, the Waters case, and more

JOHNSON & JOHNSON & FCPA. Another FCPA settlement announced. DOJ Release. ”‘Today, Johnson & Johnson has admitted that its subsidiaries, employees and agents paid bribes to publicly-employed health care providers in Greece, Poland and Romania, and that kickbacks were paid on behalf of Johnson & Johnson subsidiary companies to the former government of Iraq under the United Nations Oil for Food program,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.” “Johnson & Johnson, however, has also cooperated extensively with the government and, as a result, has played an important role in identifying improper practices in the life sciences industry. As today’s agreement reflects, we are committed to holding corporations accountable for bribing foreign officials while, at the same time, giving meaningful credit to companies that self-report and cooperate with our investigations.’” Bloomberg reports here: “‘Any competitive advantage gained through corruption is a mirage,’ SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami said in a statement. ‘J&J chose profit margins over compliance.’”

DISCLOSURE AND DEMOCRACY. In the WSJ here. “Disclosure makes threats possible, and fears of retribution plausible. Within weeks of a contribution of $200 or more, the contributor’s name appears on the public record. Contributors know this, and they know that supporting the challenger can, should the challenger lose, have consequences in terms of future attention to their interests. Of course no incumbent will admit to issuing threats or seeking retribution, but the perception that both exist is widespread.”


WATERS INVESTIGATION EDITORIAL. From The Times. “Ms. Waters insists that she sought the meeting with Treasury officials to help not just OneUnited, but all minority-owned banks sideswiped by the financial crisis. The reputation of the bipartisan Ethics Committee can only sink lower if the case continues to drift.”


SMOOTH SLEDDING FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM IN VERMONT? Maybe not. “This year, with a Democratic governor in office, campaign finance legislation appeared to be headed for clear sailing. Or is it?”

GIFTING GEORGIA STATE WORKERS. News here. “A ruling last week that lobbyists need not disclose gifts to most state employees stunned open-government advocates and prompted calls for the Legislature to repair the damage in the three final days of its session this week.”

O’CONNOR AND ETHICS. In the news. “Sandra Day O’Connor, a retired Supreme Court justice, continues to hear cases in US appeals courts while playing a role in public policy issues. Her critics say she should do one or the other, but not both.”


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