WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Joe Wilson (SC-2), Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, Helsinki Commissioner Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Senator Thom Tillis (NC), and Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) applauded the inclusion of the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act as part of the FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“We cannot allow authoritarians to extort American companies and profit from mafia tactics that subvert U.S. national security and competitive interests. I’m grateful this legislation has been included in the FY2024 NDAA as it holds corrupt foreign officials accountable for bribery demands and protects the interests of hardworking Americans,” said Helsinki Chairman Rep. Wilson.
“I am pleased to announce the inclusion of our bipartisan, bicameral Foreign Extortion Prevention Act in this year’s NDAA. Our legislation defends the rule of law and sends a clear message that demanding a bribe from American companies will not be tolerated,” said Helsinki Commissioner Sen. Whitehouse. “I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this legislation to the President’s desk.”
“American businesses too often face bribery demands from foreign officials, putting them at an economic disadvantage for following the law,” said Senator Tillis. “Our commonsense legislation will help promote free enterprise and protect American businesses from corrupt foreign officials who try to extort them.”
“I was pleased to work with Senator Whitehouse in helping to pass and negotiate the bipartisan, bicameral Foreign Extortion Prevention Act that is now included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime. “The passage of this legislation will be the most significant international criminal anti-corruption legislation since 1977, and I look forward to it being signed by the President of the United States and becoming law.”
Text of the FY2024 NDAA, as agreed upon by House and Senate conferees, was released today. The legislation is likely to be approved by both chambers. The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act will combat kleptocracy and corruption by criminalizing bribery demands by foreign officials. Under U.S. law, only the giving or offering of a bribe abroad is considered a criminal activity. However, foreign corrupt officials routinely demand bribes from companies hoping to do business with them. This system gives unscrupulous companies operating in a corrupt environment a competitive edge while disadvantaging companies beholden to the rule of law, including American companies. The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act remedies this by criminalizing the demand side of bribery, arming the United States to fight corruption.
The Senate legislation was also cosponsored by Helsinki Commissioner Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT), and Senator John Kennedy (LA).
The House legislation was cosponsored by Helsinki Commission Ranking Member Representative Steve Cohen (TN-9), Commssioner Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5), and Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), William Keating (MA-9), John Curtis (UT-3), Dean Phillips (MN-3), Maria Salazar (FL-27), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Dwight Evans (PA-3), Glenn Ivey (MD-4), , Donald Davis (NC-1), and Colin Allred (TX-32).