I am pleased to sign into law S. 305, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 and the Domestic and Foreign Investment Improved Disclosure Act of 1977.
During my campaign for the Presidency, I repeatedly stressed the need for tough legislation to prohibit corporate bribery. S. 305 provides that necessary sanction.
I share Congress belief that bribery is ethically repugnant and competitively unnecessary. Corrupt practices between corporations and public officials overseas undermine the integrity and stability of governments and harm our relations with other countries. Recent revelations of widespread overseas bribery have eroded public confidence in our basic institutions.
This law makes corrupt payments to foreign officials illegal under United States law. It requires publicly held corporations to keep accurate books and records and establish accounting controls to prevent the use of "off-the-books" devices, which have been used to disguise corporate bribes in the past. The law also requires more extensive disclosure of ownership of stocks registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
These efforts, however, can only be fully successful in combating bribery and extortion if other countries and business itself take comparable action. Therefore, I hope progress will continue in the United Nations toward the negotiation of a treaty on illicit payments. I am also encouraged by the International Chamber of Commerce's new Code of Ethical Business Practices.