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August 28, 2005

Feds Raid Maryland Home of Nigerian VP

Investigating whether or not a Democratic Representative, William Jefferson, authorized payments to Nigerian officials to ease the entry of a Kentucky broadband internet firm into Africa.

Hmmmm... I guess I need to offer an opinion. I think the Federal Corrupt Business Practices Act makes bribes to foreign officials or businessmen illegal. I never really understood that law. I don't want bribes coming in; I'm not sure if I care if they're going out. I care about good clean government at home; I care a hell of a lot less about good clean government overseas; most countries are about 50 or 100 years away from developing even the regrettably-low standards of governmental and business clealiness we have now.

Yes, it's a shady practice and yadda yadda yadda, but this is how business is done in most of the world, and I've gotta think that businesses (and, I guess, politicians) are typically forced into the difficult situation of either breaking the law or putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

And I think most of the time they'll opt to not put themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

It's an idealistic law, and thus, very stupid. Sure, it's a bit embarassing that we might have politicians involved in this, but it's also sort of unhelpful to raid the US residence of a high foreign dignitary.

I don't think diplomatic immunity is a concern; based on a quickie reading, only the residence of the head of the consulate or mission is considered invioable under the Vienna Conentions.

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posted by Ace at 11:12 AM

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