Monday, March 13, 2017

Trump to Weaken Anti-corruption Efforts Further

The "Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" is the jewel in the crown of America’s fight against international business bribes and corporate favors. Intended to promote American business and foreign-policy ideals around the world, and give US companies a tool to battle corruption abroad, it has also helped other countries crack down on bribery, and has extracted billions of dollars in fines.

The FCPA makes it illegal for US companies and people working abroad to engage in corrupt acts such as bribing officials. It bans foreign firms and people from doing the same in the US. American companies with listed securities must keep accurate, transparent records and not hide payments in “off-the-books” accounts.

But under US president Donald Trump, it may lose its bite... he has killed a rule to crack down on foreign bribery by US energy companies, refused to release his tax returns, and canceled ethics training for White House staff.

Trump’s business has also come under public scrutiny regarding the FCPA. The New Yorker reported on March 6 that the Trump Organization had helped build a hotel in Azerbaijan owned by the family of a cabinet minister with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the US government has accused of money-laundering and terrorism. Though it’s not clear if the deal itself violated the FCPA, in order to avoid breaking the law, US companies usually extensively investigate potential partners for corruption. One lawyer told the New Yorker, “I’ve had very few clients do so little due diligence” as the Trump Organization did.

Finally, Trump has nominated Jay Clayton, a Wall Street defense lawyer, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC enforces the FCPA along with the Department of Justice (DoJ). In 2011 Clayton co-wrote a lengthy paper criticizing the law and its “zealous” enforcement......

Why Daylight Saving Time? Retailer Lobbyists.

"The powerful retail lobby, particularly recreation, bbq, and home and gardening remains invested in keeping DST. Longer nights mean people have more time to shop and go to baseball games (and use more gas—further cutting into the alleged energy savings)..... each year the convenience store lobby (a large supplier of gas) gives out gift bags to Congress to celebrate DST..... every 20 years the federal government adds another month of DST—the last one in 2005, in part, because the sugar lobby wanted to extend trick or treating hours. And each time we extend DST, America becomes more out of sync with the rest of the world.
The anti-DST movement doesn’t have the organization to compete with the retail lobby. The American economy has changed since the early days of DST. Now, retailers wield more power than the traditional voice of opposition, 2000 more Americans lived on golf courses than farms."

In short, citizenry counts less than lobbyists once again.

Want to learn more? Search parameter: "History of Daylight Saving Time"