Corporate Enforcement Policy Revisions: Parsing the Policy for the Path to a Declination (Part Two of Two)

Just months after senior DOJ officials were warning repeat offenders about the consequences they face for corporate wrongdoing and following a years-long focus on individual accountability for white-collar crime, the DOJ took what some might consider a surprising turn. In January 2023, the DOJ revised its Corporate Enforcement Policy (CEP) to encourage both recidivists and corporations in general to step forward and disclose their misdeeds. But with the threshold for making a deal, particularly for getting a declination, set ever higher, some might wonder whether self-reporting – and all of the consequences such an act triggers – ultimately will be worth the effort. It makes sense that, with a specter of individual accountability looming or a potential guilty plea for corporate repeat offenders in the offing, mostly innocuous misdeeds might be self-reported. With seemingly greater incentives newly in place, will firms rush to self-disclose more serious offenses now? In this second article in our two-part series on the Revised Corporate Enforcement Policy, we take a closer look at how firms can qualify for a declination under the new policy, whether self-reporting is likely to yield an attractive return on investment for an offending firm and whether nondisclosure might still be a viable option. The first article focused on the overall changes to the CEP, the shift in the DOJ’s approach to recidivists and the likely impact of the revisions on the volume of self-disclosures. For more from the DOJ, see “DOJ Report Details Its Approach to Law Enforcement Involving Digital Assets” (Dec. 8, 2022).

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