A new report out of Syracuse University presents some unpleasant information about the Obama administration’s approach to white collar crime.
According to the report, prosecution of corporate crime has fallen by almost 30% in the last ten years. These are for instances of corporate fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. But just because prosecutions have fallen, don’t fall into the trap of believing that crime is going away. Quite the opposite is true. According to the report, the instances of prosecutable violations is increasing year to year, even though actual prosecutions are falling to near-record lows.
And wouldn’t you know it, this all goes back to Eric Holder. During the Clinton administration, Holder served as deputy attorney general, where he issued a memo to his fellow prosecutors in 1999 warning them that they need to consider the “collateral consequences, including disproportionate harm to shareholders and employees not proven personally culpable.”
Shortly after that memo was issued, Clinton left office, but that theme of the perils of prosecution lived on with the Bush administration, and it was then put on steroids when Eric Holder returned to the Justice Department during the Obama administration.
Here’s a refresher on corporate crime, in case anyone watching this program has forgotten. We know today – there is ample evidence and even admissions from some of the world’s largest banks – that these financial institutions were handing out loans to people who could not afford them, jacking up the interest rates, and then taking out insurance on the mortgages so that when they defaulted, the banks would make even more money. These same banks were lying to investors about the safety of their investments, while charging fees even when they knew they were going to lose that person’s life savings. They manipulated interest rates to gouge consumers and line their own pockets. They committed fraud at every single level; they lied to members of Congress; and they gave themselves massive, multi-million dollar bonuses for being such good criminals.
And not one of the people who committed these crimes ever saw the inside of a courtroom, much less a jail cell. And it is all because Eric Holder, corporate America’s favorite attorney, convinced three different presidential administrations that prosecuting banking criminals could have a bad effect on the economy – which is completely untrue, by the way. So thanks, Eric Holder, for letting the banks get away with murder while the bottom 99% struggle to make ends meet after being screwed over by your clients.