Corporate Thieves vs. Consumers and Investors: Strange Bedfellows
Congress is considering legislation which would derail the corporate “Enron” reforms that were passed in 2002. Unfortunately it’s supposed to have a good chance of passing.
This law would give corporate sleaze captains a lot of “constitutional” protections that don’t exist if you're just an average citizen. If it passes, prosecutors won't be able to urge companies to reveal confidential talks with their lawyers in return for leniency. And the SEC won't be able to force companies to cut off legal support for employees who are under investigation.
These are some of the tools that helped to prosecute Enron and WorldCom. A former SEC accounting chief said: “Pre-Enron, U.S. attorneys never brought these cases, and after this bill is passed, they will quit bringing them again. This is a very clear message from Congress: Don't touch white-collar criminals.”
Lining up in favor of the corporate sleazewipes: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, Arlen Specter, John Conyers, the American Bar Association and the ACLU.
Prosecutors and the Justice Department are on the side of consumers and investors. This has to be the wackiest collection of strange bedfellows I’ve ever seen.
Karin Immergut, U.S. attorney and head of a Justice Department white-collar crime committee, said: "This bill would certainly make it harder for prosecutors to protect victims and the investing public. I frankly find it kind of baffling that people are proposing legislation that protects corporations and corporate officers like CEOs more than other individuals.”
Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger said: "Federal agencies have stepped up to the plate over the last few years in a way that was entirely appropriate. They were doing the job Congress asked them to. And the reward they're getting is that they're being punished for success."
I still can't get over the fact that I’m on the side of the Justice Department and against the ACLU. Well, that’s it —there's a snowball fight in Hell right now, and a winged pig just crashed into my upstairs window.