Congress Should Take Action to Address Regulatory Over-Criminalization

Nov 4, 2013

Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg.

Cross-posted from the Institute for Legal Reform's blog.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan task force on over-criminalization today continued what The Wall Street Journal has called, “the most expansive re-examination of federal law since the early 1980s” by holding a hearing on criminal enforcement of federal rules and regulations.

“Time and again . . . I have seen large companies, small companies, and entrepreneurs assess the risks and uncertainty posed by regulatory over-criminalization, and then decline to build, to invest, or to grow,” testified attorney Reed Rubenstein on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).

Rubenstein told the task force that, “ILR believes that Congress should take action to address regulatory over-criminalization which is contrary to our constitutionally-enshrined commitment to individual freedom and discourages entrepreneurship, investment, and job growth.”

ILR has advocated extensively for fixes to over-criminalization harmful to American entrepreneurs, workers and businesses, in particular: for clarification of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, modernization of the Lacey Act, improvements to the Department of Justice’s declination policies, and for legislation to promote fairness in the legal discovery process that precedes criminal trials.

Today’s hearing is a critical first step toward reform, as the task force’s recommendations will be taken up by the Committee’s Chairman Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

ILR looks forward to working with the Judiciary Committee’s task force to make meaningful improvements to the federal code. We hope that we can work together to rein in overreaches that unduly stymie employers from creating jobs.

To read Rubenstein’s full testimony, click here.

Lisa A. Rickard is President of the U.S.Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform.

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