December 7, 2023

Whitehouse, Tillis, Jackson Lee, Wilson Applaud Inclusion of Bipartisan Foreign Extortion Prevention Act in NDAA

Bipartisan, bicameral legislation will protect businesses and national security interests by criminalizing the demand-side of foreign bribery

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) today applauded the inclusion of the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act as part of the FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

“I am pleased to announce the inclusion of our bipartisan, bicameral Foreign Extortion Prevention Act in this year’s NDAA.  Our legislation defends the rule of law and sends a clear message that demanding a bribe from American companies will not be tolerated,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Helsinki Commission.  “I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this legislation to the President’s desk.”

“American businesses too often face bribery demands from foreign officials, putting them at an economic disadvantage for following the law,” said Senator Tillis. “Our commonsense legislation will help promote free enterprise and protect American businesses from corrupt foreign officials who try to extort them.”

“I was pleased to work with Senator Whitehouse in helping to pass and negotiate the bipartisan, bicameral Foreign Extortion Prevention Act that is now included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime. “The passage of this legislation will be the most significant international criminal anti-corruption legislation since 1977, and I look forward to it being signed by the President of the United States and becoming law.”

“We cannot allow authoritarians to extort American companies and profit from mafia tactics that subvert U.S. national security and competitive interests. I’m grateful this legislation has been included in the FY2024 NDAA as it holds corrupt foreign officials accountable for bribery demands and protects the interests of hardworking Americans,” said Rep. Wilson.

Text of the FY2024 NDAA, as agreed upon by House and Senate conferees, was released today.  The legislation is likely to be approved by both chambers.  The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act will combat kleptocracy and corruption by criminalizing bribery demands by foreign officials.  Under U.S. law, only the giving or offering of a bribe abroad is considered a criminal activity.  However, foreign corrupt officials routinely demand bribes from companies hoping to do business with them.  This system gives unscrupulous companies operating in a corrupt environment a competitive edge while disadvantaging companies beholden to the rule of law, including American companies.  The Foreign Extortion Prevention Act remedies this by criminalizing the demand side of bribery, arming the United States to fight corruption.

The Senate legislation was also cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and John Kennedy (R-LA), while the legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives was also cosponsored by Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), William Keating (D-MA), John Curtis (R-UT), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Maria Salazar (R-FL), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Glenn Ivey (D-MD), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Donald Davis (D-NC), and Colin Allred (D-TX).

This bipartisan victory is another step in Senator Whitehouse’s fight against kleptocracy and corruption.  Whitehouse successfully passed into law the Corporate Transparency Act—the most important anti-money laundering reform in two decades.  Late last year, Senators Whitehouse and Graham passed bipartisan legislation to ensure Russian President Vladimir Putin and his corrupt oligarchs pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine.  In 2022, Whitehouse secured $67 million in the Ukraine supplemental appropriations bill for the Department of Justice’s KleptoCapture program—an interagency law enforcement task force to enforce sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the United States has imposed on Russia.  In 2021, Whitehouse successfully pressed Treasury to begin a rulemaking process to expand safeguards against money laundering in the U.S. real estate sector.


Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921