Opinion Releases can provide valuable information for the compliance practitioner. I agree with the statement found in the 2012 FCPA Guidance that “DOJ’s opinion procedure is a valuable mechanism for companies and individuals to determine whether proposed conduct would be prosecuted by DOJ under the FCPA. Generally speaking, under the opinion procedure process, parties submit information to DOJ, after which DOJ issues an opinion about whether the proposed conduct falls within its enforcement policy.”

In the areas of charitable donations, the DOJ has provided four Opinion Releases which give solid guidance on this tricky issue under the FCPA. In each Opinion Release, the DOJ indicated that it would not initiate prosecutions based upon the fact scenarios presented to it.

Three key takeaways:

  1. You can utilize the Opinion Release process for a wide variety of issue.
  2. You must manage your charitable donations program even after the money has been donated.
  3. Never forget the Mendelsohn common sense approach to charitable donations.