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  • Richard Bistrong

Dick Cassin: ‘The FCPA Should Win the Nobel Peace Prize’

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

“Richard L. Cassin” is one of the best-known bylines in the compliance field. He’s been called the Dean of the compliance bloggers.

He founded the FCPA Blog almost nine years ago. Incredibly, he has personally written nearly 3,000 posts since then and the FCPA Blog has published about 5,500 posts overall.

In addition to his writing, Dick serves as editor-in-chief of the FCPA Blog, which reaches more than 100,000 unique readers every month.

He agreed to answer some questions.

* * *

What’s a typical workday like for the editor-in-chief of the FCPA Blog?

RLC: We’ve had more than 250 guest contributors. I deal with each one. What they have in common is an interest in corruption, enforcement, and compliance.

Lawyers, compliance professionals, investigators, professors, students, bankers, NGO workers, sociologists, people from government, law enforcement officials, HR experts, auditors, scientists, you name it. The variety is fantastic.

I’m usually at my workspace in Charlottesville, Virginia by about 6 am, Monday through Saturday. I start with a green smoothie, then work till mid-afternoon. Then it’s time for some exercise. The days fly by.

Green smoothie?

RLC: Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food . . . .

Is that code for being a vegan?

RLC: Yes, for the past 10 years.

I’d like to hear more about that. Maybe later? Back to the FCPA Blog. How would you describe it?

RLC: I think of the FCPA Blog as a community bulletin board. It’s a place – the water cooler — where anyone interested in the topic can meet and have a chat. It’s also a source for news and commentary about corruption, enforcement, and compliance.

The tone of the FCPA Blog is informal. Was that intentional?

RLC: Yes it was. My original idea was to make information about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act accessible to anyone. I think the FCPA – the statute itself — is one of the noblest, most interesting laws ever enacted, by any country. I wanted to share that idea, but not through law review articles. I leave those to the scholars (who I admire, by the way).

You once called the FCPA “idealistic, impractical, naïve, and so American.” Do you still believe that?

RLC: Absolutely. Beyond that, the FCPA was also a turning point in history. A prominent lawyer from Nigeria was in Singapore for an International Bar Association conference. I was still living there. He asked to meet for coffee. When we met, he said: “I just wanted to tell you how much the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act means to the people of Nigeria. Because of the FCPA, we actually believe we can fight corruption.” I’ve heard the same thing from people in Indonesia, Colombia, and other places. The FCPA should win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking of prizes. You’ve been named multiple times to Ethisphere’s list of the 100 most influential people in business ethics. . . . .

RLC: . . . . Sorry to interrupt. But I want to be clear: The FCPA Blog is a team effort and not a one-person show. The board of editors keeps the blog moving forward. The guest contributors show their support by allowing us to publish their work. We have sponsors who help us keep access to the FCPA Blog free for everyone. And of course, without the readers, there wouldn’t be an FCPA Blog.

But recognition from peers and colleagues is an honor. I’m enormously grateful for the recognition from Ethisphere. It means the FCPA Blog is reaching people. And the fact that such a list even exists is a wonderful thing. It draws attention to business ethics. That’s great.

Do you ever get tired and feel like you need a rest from the FCPA Blog?

RLC: There’s always lots of encouragement. Some readers take the time to write to me. They say they enjoy reading the FCPA Blog, keep up the good work. Some even say the FCPA Blog changed their life somehow. It doesn’t get any better than that. So I’m grateful to be part of the FCPA Blog. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What’s next for Dick Cassin and the FCPA Blog?

RLC: I’m excited about our upcoming event in New York in October. The FCPA Blog on wheels!

Dick, thank you for your time today. And keep up the good work!

RLC: My pleasure. Thank you.



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