DOJ Updates Justice Manual to Formalize Guidance about Guidance

Featured Expert Contributor, White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance

Gregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC, with William E. Moschella, a Shareholder in the firm’s Washington, DC office.

Back in November 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum entitled “Prohibition on Improper Guidance Documents.”  This Sessions Memo included guidance concerning DOJ’s issuance of guidance that has not gone through the formal rulemaking process.  The Sessions Memo essentially provided that DOJ components may not use guidance documents to create legally binding requirements.  The point was to prohibit agencies from, in effect, creating de facto regulations outside of the formal rulemaking process.

Subsequently, in January 2018, then Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand issued a memorandum acknowledging the Sessions Memo as a “Guidance Policy,” and more specifically directing that Department litigators follow this Guidance Policy in determining the legal relevance of both DOJ and other agencies’ guidance documents in affirmative civil enforcement matters. Continue reading “DOJ Updates Justice Manual to Formalize Guidance about Guidance”

Congressional Investigations and the Attorney-Client Privilege

Featured Expert Contributor, White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance

Gregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC, with Emily R. Garnett, an Associate in the firm’s Denver, CO office.

As Democrats assume control over the U.S. House of Representatives for the next Congress, many insiders anticipate an increase in congressional oversight investigations. Although much of the focus will be directed at the Trump administration itself, certain industries are also likely to be targeted, including health care, energy, financial services, pharmaceuticals, technology, and for-profit higher education, to name just a few. For many targets of this oversight activity, this will be their first foray into the unique world of congressional investigations where some of the usual rules don’t really apply.

Although it may look a lot like discovery in civil litigation, there are significant differences between litigating a lawsuit and responding to a congressional investigation. Unlike ordinary civil litigation, in a congressional investigation, the rules of evidence, the rules of procedure, and even common-law privileges don’t really apply, meaning that Congress does not even necessarily recognize an otherwise valid assertion of the attorney-client privilege in response to a request for documents or witness testimony. This reality can be of critical importance to a company that finds itself on the receiving end of a congressional subpoena. Continue reading “Congressional Investigations and the Attorney-Client Privilege”

DOJ Modifies Policy on Credit for Cooperation by Corporate Employees

Featured Expert Contributor, White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance

Gregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC, with William E. Moschella, a Shareholder in the firm’s Washington, DC office.

Following an internal review of the Department of Justice’s policy concerning individual accountability in corporate cases, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently announced significant changes to the policy. Under the new policy, DOJ will treat civil cases differently than criminal cases when evaluating a corporation’s cooperation in an investigation. This change is a modification of the 2015 policy memo issued by then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates that required DOJ lawyers to investigate any individuals responsible for illegal corporate conduct before settling a case. The modified policy restores the discretion of DOJ attorneys in civil cases to approve settlements without investigating every individual corporate employee who might potentially be responsible for the illegal conduct. Continue reading “DOJ Modifies Policy on Credit for Cooperation by Corporate Employees”

DOJ Expands FCPA-Violation Self-Disclosure Incentive to the Health Care Industry

Featured Expert Contributor, White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance

Gregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC, with Erin M. Eiselein, a Shareholder in the firm’s Denver, CO office.

It has been a busy few months for the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) as the section continues its road show to educate the health care community on its recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) guidance. As has been widely reported, DOJ announced a new policy (which took effect immediately) of applying its FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy to health care companies. DOJ has focused considerable enforcement resources lately on health care companies’ alleged payment of bribes to foreign officials. Continue reading “DOJ Expands FCPA-Violation Self-Disclosure Incentive to the Health Care Industry”

DOJ Issues New Guidance on Corporate Monitors Reflecting More Pragmatic Approach

White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance

Brower_GregGarnettStanGregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC, with Stanley L. Garnett, a Shareholder in the firm’s Denver, CO office.

In an October 12 speech at the NYU School of Law last Friday, the head of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Division announced a policy memo that sets forth the department’s new process for the approval of corporate monitorship agreements and the selection of monitors. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Brian A. Benczkowski explained that the new policy follows a recent review of DOJ’s corporate enforcement policies led by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Continue reading “DOJ Issues New Guidance on Corporate Monitors Reflecting More Pragmatic Approach”

Fifth Circuit Signals Sea Change in CFPB Civil Investigative Demand Analysis

Featured Expert Contributor, White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance

Brower_GregAuchterlonieSarah

By Gregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC with Sarah Auchterlonie, a Shareholder in the Denver, CO office.

On September 6, 2018 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit raised the standard under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) (12 U.S.C. § 5562(c)(2)) for the specificity in a Bureau Civil Investigative Demand’s notification of purpose. In Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. The Source for Public Data, Case No. 17-10732 (5th Cir. Sept. 6, 2018), the CFPB sent a CID to Source for Public Data, Inc., a company that provides records from local, state, and federal agencies about individuals through an internet-based search engine. The CID stated that its purpose was to investigate “unlawful acts and practices in connection with the provision or use of public records information.” It referenced the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Continue reading “Fifth Circuit Signals Sea Change in CFPB Civil Investigative Demand Analysis”

Second Circuit Contradicts SEC/DOJ Guidance in Limiting Scope of FCPA

Featured Expert Contributor, White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance

Brower_GregBy Gregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC, with Thomas J. Krysa, a Shareholder with the firm in its Denver, CO office.

In a much watched Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) case that originated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently held in U.S. v Hoskins that a foreign national who is not employed by a U.S. company cannot be guilty of violating the law as an accomplice or co-conspirator. In so ruling, the court directly contradicted a 2012 FCPA guide promulgated jointly by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).  A unanimous three-judge panel held that “the government may not expand the extraterritorial reach of the FCPA by recourse to the conspiracy and complicity statutes.”  This decision is significant because it clarifies federal regulators’ and prosecutors’ jurisdiction over nonresident foreign nationals. Continue reading “Second Circuit Contradicts SEC/DOJ Guidance in Limiting Scope of FCPA”