We talked yesterday about the Department of Justice using the occasion of the 2010 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference (SHOT Show) to arrest 21 law enforcement products company employees for attempted bribery of a foreign official, along with conspiracy and money laundering charges. It was a sting employing undercover FBI agents posing as a sales agents.
We also discussed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), looking at some of the highlights of what it is and what it covers.
Unfortunately, the story seems to have had its day in the sun–for the immediate present. The most recent update from a Google News search is from two days ago. As we’ve seen time and again here, it’s not exactly like the “Authorized Journalists” have a great track record of bringing us unbiased and complete information regarding matters of concern to gun owners. And so far, the SHOT Show and National Shooting Sports Foundation websites are silent on the matter, as is NRA.
So we’re left with questions and very few answers, and it’s likely to remain that way until something breaks loose–possibly a statement from lawyers for the defendants.
We can ask why we have an FCPA in the first place–their own guide admits:
Following the passage of the FCPA, the Congress became concerned that American companies were operating at a disadvantage compared to foreign companies who routinely paid bribes and, in some countries, were permitted to deduct the cost of such bribes as business expenses on their taxes.
Yeah, no kidding. But the Carter administration, which signed the original act in 1977, and later the Clinton administration which signed onto a supplemental international convention in 1998, were not exactly known for making “America First” the centerpiece of their foreign or economic policies.
We can ask why, according to the DoJ press release, this industry was targeted for “the largest single investigation and prosecution against individuals in the history of DOJ’s enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” and why, at a time when the nation’s limited resources are needed to secure the Republic from real enemies:
In connection with these indictments, approximately 150 FBI agents executed 14 search warrants in locations across the country…Additionally, the United Kingdom’s City of London Police executed seven search warrants in connection with their own investigations into companies involved in the foreign bribery conduct that formed the basis for the indictments.
We can ask if grandstanding and getting headlines plays into any of that.
We can ask where ATF is on this, and if their absence is indicative of continued noncooperation and friction between their agency and the FBI.
We can ask how this is likely to boost the career of the guy ramrodding the operation, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, an Obama pick who gained notice on the national stage helping represent Bill Clinton during his impeachment.
And we can ask if there is any dot-connecting to do in terms of the administration’s renewed push to ratify the global Arms Trade Treaty.
We can also ask questions about the sales policies and practices of the companies involved. The saying “it’s not about guns, it’s about freedom” is true. I confess I have a hard time working up sympathy for those who deal with some of these regimes, which are the same ones the international gun grabbers believe in empowering. As I asked recently (with tongue in cheek) on WarOnGuns, who better to trust with a monopoly on arms than African governments?
We can ask all of these things, but just don’t expect to see the questions answered. For now, barring new disclosures, all we can do is speculate.
And we can reflect on the truth of words attributed to Lenin, of all people, that capitalists will sell the rope by which they will be hanged. Perhaps, as we learn more, the appropriate industry response to the feds will be for suppliers to commit to the same type of response Mr. Barrett gave the state of California.
- What’s going on with SHOT Show sting?
- What is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?
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