In 2016, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $264 million as part of a settlement with the federal government. The reason? An Asian subsidiary of the company had hired the children of Chinese government officials in the hopes of currying favor with their powerful parents — a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Had the same thing happened with a foreign company and an American politician’s family, however, no violation would have occurred — because no equivalent American law prevents a foreign company or government from hiring the family members of American politicians.
This glaring loophole provides political families with an opportunity to effectively “offshore” corruption and cronyism. It gives the politically connected class enormously tempting opportunities for self-dealing, the sort of thing that is blatantly illegal in almost any other context.
Consider two Washington power families: the Bidens and the McConnell-Chaos.