The New York University School of Law will host a day-long forum in Manhattan next month on prosecuting corruption, focusing on domestic U.S. corruption alongside the anti-bribery Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
“The question of how to police and reduce corruption is a fundamental one,” said Anthony Barkow, a former federal prosecutor who is now executive director of NYU’s Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, which is co-sponsoring the event. “We are bringing together voices from all those constituencies to talk about the best strategy.”
A keynote speech will be given by Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program used to bail out financial institutions in the aftermath of the 2008 Wall Street meltdown.
Other panelists include former Connecticut Assistant U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy, the special prosecutor who concluded that the 2006 dismissal of U.S. Attorneys by the George W. Bush administration didn’t merit criminal prosecution; Jack Smith, chief of the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice; and Greg Andres, the deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Criminal Division.
The pairing of a panel on the FCPA, which prohibits U.S. companies from paying bribes overseas for business purposes, with a discussion of how to deter domestic corruption inside the U.S. brings to the forefront an issue that grates in other countries. While the U.S. evangelizes on the international stage against corruption and touts its tough enforcement of the FCPA (which often hits non-U.S. companies the hardest), the rest of the world perceives that its own house isn’t in order.
The Wall Street collapse and subsequent exposure of major financial fraud like the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme underscored lapses in regulation and law enforcement that undermined confidence in the U.S.’s leadership on corruption issues.
Indeed, the United States fell to No. 22 last year on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, an annual ranking of countries for perceived levels of corruption. The U.S. ranked No. 19 in the Berlin-based anti-corruption group’s 2009 survey.
“Corrupt institutions really go to the core of the problems in our country,” said Barkow.
Toward that end, two of the three panels will examine issues related to domestic corruption and their intersection with politics. A panel on defining corruption features Dannehy along with Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; and Noah David Bookbinder, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chief counsel for criminal justice.
The former chief counsel of the House ethics committee, R. Blake Chisam, will participate in a discussion of who should prosecute and regulate corruption. Chisam oversaw the investigation of former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel that resulted in the New York Democrat’s December censure by the House of Representatives for unpaid property taxes, undisclosed financial assets and improper fundraising from companies with business before his tax-writing committee.
The day will include a discussion of the Supreme Court’s ruling last year in the case of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling that dramatically scaled back application of the honest services fraud statute, which had been the government’s chief tool for prosecuting a wide range of public and private sector corruption.
Anne Milgram, a senior fellow at the NYU Center on the Administration of Criminal Law and a former attorney general of New Jersey, will also give a keynote speech. Milgram was counsel to then-Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) in 2005 and 2006. She prosecuted international sex trafficking, domestic servitude and hate crimes as a lawyer in the DOJ Civil Rights Division’s criminal section from January 2001 until May 2005.
A complete list of scheduled panelists is below:
Albert Alschuler, Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law
Greg Andres, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice
Noah David Bookbinder, Chief Counsel for Criminal Justice, Senate Judiciary Committee
R. Blake Chisam, Former Chief Counsel and Staff Director, United States House of Representatives Committee on Standards of Official Conduct
Kathleen Clark, Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
Anne E. Cohen, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Kevin E. Davis, Beller Family Professor of Business Law, New York University School of Law
Nora R. Dannehy, Deputy Attorney General, State of Connecticut, and former United States Attorney, District of Connecticut and former Special Prosecutor, United States Department of Justice
Rose Gill Hearn, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation
Ronald Goldstock, New York State Commissioner of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor
Roderick M. Hills, Jr., William T. Comfort, III Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
James B. Jacobs, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts, New York University School of Law
Michael Johnston, Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science, Colgate University
Pamela S. Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law, Stanford Law School
Susan Rose-Ackerman, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School and Yale Department of Political Science
Melanie Sloan, Executive Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Jack Smith, Chief, Public Integrity Section, United States Department of Justice
Andrew Weissmann, Partner and Co-Chair, White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice, Jenner & Block LLP