FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How to Fight Corporate Crime

by Ralph Nader

Can anybody in Washington do what needs to be done about corporate crime in the eight weeks before the November elections?

Don’t look to the Republicans. Their “whatever corporations want” subservient stance during the Nineties reached levels somewhere between unconditional surrender and unconditional sell out. The former pesticide exterminator, House Republican Whip, Tom Delay (R-TX) once declared that he could not think of one regulation to keep on the law books. De-regulate everything in sight was their fevered mantra — including taking the federal cops off the corporate crime beats. Getting rid of corporate law and order, pushing to lock up the corporate cops and throwing away the keys became the Republicans’ inventory to raise huge piles of cash from the corporate malefactors.

The Democrats, while as a whole not as obeisant, did not throw the gauntlet down either. Also some Democrats, like Senators Lieberman and Dodd, locked arms with the Republicans to take away important rights to sue held by shareholders until 1995. Yes, there are some politicians who know full well the stands that they can take and should take.

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) is one of them — a tough crackdown on U.S. corporations who renounce their U.S. state charter, reincorporate in Bermuda or other tax haven, escape gobs of taxes to Uncle Sam yet retain all the benefits as if they were still U.S. corporations. Dorgan says he will have hearings on this subject. One of the lead proposals will be to stop these companies from receiving government contracts and subsidies.

But who will provide by law more powers and rights to shareholders to control the corporation that they own? Shareholders in large public companies must be given the authority to approve or disapprove executive compensation packages. It has been executive pay that provided the bosses with the incentives to cook the books and inflate company profits so as to make their stock options and other bonuses more lucrative. Facilities to make it easier for consumers, taxpayers and shareholders to band together voluntarily into powerful self-help are also needed.

A more immediate opportunity comes very soon when the House and Senate votes on the Justice Department appropriations bill. At least fifty million dollars should be added to expand the corporate crime prosecution section in the Department. There is no way that the Justice Department can go after corporate crooks with its meager staff and, certainly, no way can it respond to the recommendations for prosecution by the beefed up Securities and Exchange Commission. More federal cops on the corporate beat, and the establishment of a corporate crime database are necessary to make law and order happen and to help save millions of Americans their investments, savings, pensions and jobs.

Rolling back the failed de-regulation of the financial industry which opened the floodgates to reckless, avaricious crimes and frauds in the Nineties is also necessary. Derivatives should be brought under regulation as should electricity (a necessity). It was de-regulation that allowed the Enronitis disease which gouged Californians and others and which eventually brought down Enron and cost thousands of workers their jobs.

These and other positions could help stem the tide of corporate power and benefit consumers, workers, and shareholders. For more information on these and other reforms visit http://www.citizenworks.org.

 

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail