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U.S. Chamber Applauds Introduction of FOCUS Act in U.S. Senate

Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), made the following statement about the introduction of the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures (FOCUS) Act of 2012 in the U.S. Senate.  The bill would, among other things, amend the Lacey Act to remove foreign law violations as a basis for prosecution in the United States and limit punishment for violations under the Act to civil penalties.

“We applaud the Senate’s efforts to bring common sense reform to the Lacey Act, and look forward to working with members to help it become law.

“The underlying goals of the Lacey Act, including protecting endangered species and promoting stewardship of environmental resources, can and should be upheld, and federal laws ought to give prosecutors the necessary criminal enforcement tools to pursue bad actors.  But defects in the Act have led to some of the worst examples of overcriminalization. Whether the Act is used to secure jail terms against importers of Honduran lobsters because they did not package the product according to foreign law or whether it serves as the basis for repeated raids against the Gibson guitar facility for alleged violations of Indian export laws, the Act is ripe for meaningful reform.”

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.