Difference between Lobbying and Bribing
Lobbying refers to an act of trying to influence someone or a group of people to act on another person’s interest without the motive of injuring another party; it can involve money exchanging hands or just seeking support from a person or a group of people. When lobbying is done with an ill motive, it is legalized and considered ethical; however when it involves quid pro quo policy, this for that policy, then it is illegal and unethical. Bribery is perceived as a form of lobbying with the intention of seeking support for something that fails to meet the set standards; it involves using favors both monetary and non–monetary to push for something likely to injure another party. Bribery involves the parties in the act reaching an agreement to violate set rules and regulations; bribery has an evil motive. Bribery in whichever form is illegal, unethical, unacceptable, and treated as corruption (Laws.com, 2010).
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The major difference between lobbying and bribery is the approach taken by the parties involved; in lobbying the lobbyist is at free will to offer any gift to the parties involved but in a bribery situation, they both agree a certain amount acceptable by the bribed for his/her support. Both the two terms have been affiliated with a political class where if a certain candidate is having a bill and wants support, he can lobby for support from other legislators by enlightening them on the need of the bill that may require the legislator to offer the prospective supporters some gifts at his free will. In the case of The Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC), the International Olympics Committee (IOC) allowed gifts and special treatments of up to $150; this is a chance to lobby; the accepted gift applies across the board and there is nothing to hide about it (Olympic.org, 2011).
What argument could the SLOC members make that the payments made do not fit the definition of an illegal bribe (under the FCPA)?
SLOC could claim that they gave the gift to the members as a form of lobbying for their consideration for the city to host the 2002 Olympics they were not offering a bribe since the city had the capacity and met the requirements of the International Olympics Committee (IOC). An allegation that the council extended some medical benefits to one IOC member does not account for bribery since it was a matter of health, thus the member was assisted in an individual capacity. The council can claim that the guns were offered for security reasons and the scholarship was offered in the spirit of promoting globalization in the country; an element needed by the Olympics.
The council can also claim that the gifts and preferential treatments were given on individual capacity and they were not aimed to influence the decisions of the IOC members.
What do you think is the appropriate punishment for the violation of ethical and legal principles?
According to The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (15 U.S.C. sec. 78), the following acts come out from the case that can amount to bribery:
- The council offered scholarships, free medical care, and guns; the three gifts can obviously be over the set limit of $150
- There were other expensive gifts valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars that were given by the council and
- There was an extension of a free medical treatment for hepatitis and financed land investment
Bribery is illegal and the city involved in such acts should be banned from lobbying for its consideration to hold an Olympic tournament for the next couple of tournaments. There should be a financial fine fined to the city and forced to sack all the people who were involved in the bribery. The officers of International Olympics Committee involved should also be sacked from these positions with immediate effect. The city administrators should also handle responsibility of having the wrong people in the offices; they should have the whole chain of command investigated and anyone seen to have been knowing of the bribery punished accordingly. The community will suffer the loose of a chance of Olympic games (Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, 2011).
Should the remedies be limited to the expulsion of the members who violated those principles, or should the entire community be held responsible?
IOC and SLOC members directly involved in the bribery scandal should carry the biggest burden; they should be suspended from their duties and legal actions taken against them. The community member will have to suffer from an inherent angle; the corrupt officials represent community members; thus, the community has placed their hope and delegated responsibilities to people of low moral standing. When the city is banned from hosting the Olympics, the community will suffer social, economic and political benefits that come along with Olympics. The reason to punish the violator’s of bribery legislation is to punish them and deter future occurrence of such a violation; when the community involved suffer, the punishments is likely to have more weight (Olympic.org, 2011).
Laws.com. (2010). Lobbying and Bribery.
Olympic.org. (2011). Official website of the Olympic Movement. Web.
Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.(2011). The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Web.