DOJ Issues Nationwide Voluntary Self-Disclosure Policy for U.S. Attorney’s Offices
Recently, the DOJ announced a new voluntary self-disclosure policy for all U.S. Attorney’s Offices (USAOs) that would allow companies to receive credit for voluntarily self-disclosing criminal conduct. The policy, which went into effect immediately, standardizes how voluntary self-disclosures are defined and attributed. Further, the policy assists in providing companies transparency and predictability with respect to probable outcomes in cases where companies “voluntarily self-disclose misconduct, fully cooperate, and timely and appropriately remediate.”
Under the new policy, a voluntary self-disclosure is considered to have been made if the company becomes aware of misconduct by employees or agents (before that conduct is publicly reported or known by the DOJ) and the company discloses all relevant facts in a timely fashion (prior to imminent threat of disclosure or government investigation). The policy outlines three aggravating factors that may warrant a USAO to pursue a guilty plea even if a voluntary self-disclosure has been made: “(1) if the misconduct poses a grave threat to national security, public health, or the environment; (2) if the misconduct is deeply pervasive throughout the company; or (3) if the misconduct involved current executive management of the company.”
The new policy was developed in accordance with the Deputy Attorney General’s September 15, 2022 memorandum entitled, “Further Revisions to Corporate Criminal Enforcement Policies Following Discussions with Corporate Crime Advisory Group,” which guided each DOJ component to create and circulate a voluntary self-disclosure policy.