The FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and French law do not create a per se ban on political contributions.  The FCPA does contain an explicit provision covering improper payments made to “any foreign political party or official thereof or any candidate for foreign political office.”1  The provision of non-cash gifts to a political party or campaign, such as use of a company’s office space or personnel, may constitute a political contribution.  Such donations, and all political contributions, should be carefully scrutinized in advance by the company’s compliance department.  The company should also ensure that the political contribution is legal under local law.  In addition, French law has specific rules governing the financing of political parties and election campaigns under the French Electoral Code.

Before making a political contribution, the company should carefully consider whether a member of the party, the politician, or the candidate for office to whom the donation is being made is, or may soon be, in a position to regulate the company or evaluate a pending bid or proposal made by the company.  The company should weigh these factors carefully when considering whether to make the donation.

A company’s ABC policy should require that the company keep written records that properly account for all contributions, document the approval process, the type, and the amount of the contribution.  Any political contribution should be made transparently and not anonymously.

1 15 USC §§ 78dd-1, 78dd-2, 78dd-3.

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