Diplomatic Immunity, Corruption and Parking Tickets

parking ticket

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act only applies to those making bribes. It does not apply to the recipients of bribes. Since the recipient must be a “foreign official” you run into the issue of “diplomatic immunity.” Richard Cassin looked at one of the approaches to taking actions against the kleptocrats in Proclamation 7750 Unwrapped on The FCPA Blog.

The concept of diplomatic immunity is that officials should only be held accountable to the laws in their home state. We would not want our officials being courted off to a foreign country for prosecution. Other countries should not expect their officials to be courted off to the U.S. for prosecution. I am sure you have seen an episode of Law & Order or Lethal Weapon 2 where a criminal runs free under diplomatic immunity.

It should not surprise you that there is a correlation between parking violations scofflaws under diplomatic immunity and the corruption in their home country.  Ray Fishman and Edward Miguel published a paper researching parking violations and diplomatic immunity in New York City.

The Clinton-Schumer Amendment, which gave the New York City permission to tow diplomatic vehicles, revoke their official parking permits, and have 110 percent of the total amount due paid from U.S. government aid to the offending diplomats’ countries of origin, resulted in a substantial decrease in diplomatic parking scofflaws.

The authors also found that there is strong correlation between the affinity for the U.S. and the diplomat’s home country.

Here is the top ten from the study:

  • CHAD

Most of these are well known for corruption. It seems these countries also export their corruption.


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2 Responses to Diplomatic Immunity, Corruption and Parking Tickets

  1. Daniel April 6, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Nice interweaving of Cassin’s recent pieces with the parking study.

  2. Doug Cornelius April 6, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    Daniel –

    Cassin got me thinking about ways to deal with foreign officials and I ended up going down this tangent. It seemed interesting and came together.

    To me the study shows how a culture of corruption exists with countries. I would bet you could extend some of the paradigm to companies with flawed ethical cultures as well.