Don't Mean To Be Clueless, But Why Does The U.S. Have A Law Against Bribing Foreign Governments?

Michael DukeMichael Duke, Walmart’s CEO, who’s probably done.

Walmart’s in serious hot water because its executives allegedly paid $24 million in bribes to Mexican government officials to facilitate store openings.A former Morgan Stanley executive has just pleaded guilty to bribing Chinese officials.

Both cases may run afoul of a once-obscure U.S. law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal to bribe officials of foreign governments.

According to the New York Times, the law was enacted in the 1970s, after Watergate, but wasn’t used much until recently. Now government prosecutors are alleging criminal violations of it left and right.

So this begs the question…

Why does the U.S. have a law against bribing foreign government officials?

After all, in some countries, like China, giving “gifts” to business partners is just the way business gets done.

So why should giving gifts to Chinese business partners be illegal in the United States?

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