"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A nation of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations
Posted by Jill | 6:43 AM
If you're an American corporation, you no longer have to worry about trials for wrongdoing. Under Michael Mukasey's justice department, justice is an admonition, a wink, and a handshake:

In a major shift of policy, the Justice Department, once known for taking down giant corporations, including the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, has put off prosecuting more than 50 companies suspected of wrongdoing over the last three years.

Instead, many companies, from boutique outfits to immense corporations like American Express, have avoided the cost and stigma of defending themselves against criminal charges with a so-called deferred prosecution agreement, which allows the government to collect fines and appoint an outside monitor to impose internal reforms without going through a trial. In many cases, the name of the monitor and the details of the agreement are kept secret.

Deferred prosecutions have become a favorite tool of the Bush administration. But some legal experts now wonder if the policy shift has led companies, in particular financial institutions now under investigation for their roles in the subprime mortgage debacle, to test the limits of corporate anti-fraud laws.

Firms have readily agreed to the deferred prosecutions, said Vikramaditya S. Khanna, a law professor at the University of Michigan who has studied their use, because “clearly it avoids a bigger headache for them.”

Some lawyers suggest that companies may be willing to take more risks because they know that, if they are caught, the chances of getting a deferred prosecution are good. “Some companies may bear the risk” of legally questionable business practices if they believe they can cut a deal to defer their prosecution indefinitely, Mr. Khanna said.

Legal experts say the tactic may have sent the wrong signal to corporations — the promise, in effect, of a get-out-of-jail-free card. The growing use of deferred prosecutions also suggests one road map the Justice Department might follow in the subprime mortgage investigations.

Gee, ya think?

It's interesting how you haven't heard Republicans run on the "tough on crime" platform in a long time. You may see "Willie Horton"-type ads today, but instead of fearmongering about criminals, they're more likely to take the form of casting doubt on That Scary Dark-Skinned Candidate Who May Be A Muslim And Even If He Isn't His Pastor Is a Very Mean Guy. Fear of terrorism has been effective for them, as has fear and loathing of immigrants. But you haven't seen them connect either of their boogeymen of choice to murders and rapes and property crimes. They haven't had to, when they can connect them to the toppling of buildings and "taking your job."

But it's understandable that they'd be cautious about playing the crime card, because when you have this stern Republican history of "actions have consequences", combined with the special exemptions for corporations and other Friends of Republicans, pointing out this discrepancy might cause people to ask questions. And you can't have that.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Gee, why don't they call those "fines" what they may as well be: bribes, baksheesh?

My cup of disgust, as too often of late, runneth over.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Speaking of "Get Out Jail Free Cards", isn't "Taking Impeachment Off The Table" like a giant Green Light to Busholini and Darth Cheney to do whatever they chose, without regard to legal consequences? This is definitely lots of Footsie Tootsie going on.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Are we really very far from Phillip K Dick's nightmare world? Not if the corporate world has their way. Add in these tidbits to the current discussion and see what you come up with:

Firms Battle States Over Taxation Without Location

Fed plan would shrink states' powers

Big Brother wears Brooks Brothers. Ever since the corporate cabal finagled quasi-human status through specious interpretations of a corporate Supreme Court, they have been after the attainment of a superior status where the law is concerned. They are very close to achieving this goal. Once they complete the effort, they will then use the very laws they scorn and disdain as weapons in their war against real humans. Corporate execs will, of course, be deemed above mere human status.