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In Sweeping FCPA-Style Enforcement Action, ComEd Enters $200 Million Domestic Corruption DPA

July 21, 2020, Covington Alert

On July 17, 2020, Commonwealth Edison Company (“ComEd”), an Illinois utility company, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (the “DPA”) with the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ” or the “Department”) to resolve allegations of bribery under 18 U.S.C. § 666, which prohibits theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. Aside from the sweeping nature of the allegations, the ripple effect that the matter is likely to create in Illinois politics, and further enforcement actions that could stem from DOJ’s investigation, the case is noteworthy because it may signal a significant expansion of corporate enforcement for domestic corruption. Indeed, the matter is reminiscent of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) enforcement action targeting corporate bribery schemes involving a foreign official. In that regard, the ComEd DPA serves as an important reminder for companies that a robust compliance program must include policies, procedures, and controls that address and mitigate both foreign and domestic bribery and corruption risks. Companies should thus take stock of the state of their compliance programs with respect to mitigating domestic bribery risks.

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