FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Boeing’s Criminal Agreement

It was 3:36 p.m. on Friday June 30.

The Friday before the July 4th holiday weekend.

Reporters were on their way out of town.

And into our e-mail box comes a press release from the Justice Department announcing that Boeing will not be criminally prosecuted for alleged criminal activity.

According to the press release, Boeing will pay a $50 million criminal penalty and $615 million in civil penalties to resolve federal claims relating to the company’s hiring of the former Air Force acquisitions chief Darleen A. Druyun, by its then CFO, Michael Sears, and its handling of competitors’ information in connection with the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Program and certain NASA launch services contracts.

Attached to the press release was a copy of the nine-page civil settlement agreement.

But where’s the non-prosecution agreement — the settlement agreement for the criminal side?

This non-prosecution agreement was not attached to the press release.

Why not?

No answer from the United States Attorney in Alexandria Virginia.

No answer from the United States Attorney in Los Angeles.

No answer from the Justice Department.

After all, it was late Friday.

And then, after all, it was the Monday before the Fourth of July.

No answer.

Finally, only later in the week, Main Justice sends along the non-prosecution agreement.

And now it is clear why Boeing didn’t want the document released.

In the agreement, which covers a two-year period, Boeing agrees not to commit any criminal offenses related to stealing of other companies’ sensitive procurement information or the laws governing federal bribery, graft and conflict of interest.

But unlike the 50 or so corporate deferred and non-prosecution agreements that have preceded this one, Boeing’s team of lawyers had inserted this item:

If a non-executive level Boeing employee violates the agreement, that’s not a violation by Boeing.

Don’t believe it?

Here’s the exact wording:

“For the purposes of determining compliance with this agreement (as opposed to legal responsibility), the commission of a defined offense by a Boeing employee classified at a level below executive management as defined by Boeing’s internal classification structure in place at the time of the execution of this agreement shall not be deemed to constitute the commission of a defined offense by Boeing.”

When told the provision, experts in the field expressed surprise.

“It’s an odd and unusual provision,” said Ryan McConnell of Baker Botts in Houston who has closely followed the rise of corporate deferred and non-prosecution agreements. “I’ve never seen it before.”

“Drawing the line between executives and other employees is a little crude,” said Columbia University Law Professor John Coffee. “I don’t think you want to tell non-executive employees they are legally immune and can’t get the company in trouble. You want the company monitoring all employees.”

“Under this agreement, Boeing gets a pass,” said University of Connecticut Law Professor Leonard Orland. “It’s pretty good negotiating. That’s amazing. Nobody else has it.”

And then the Boeing lawyers inserted this:

That even if a Boeing executive violates the agreement, it’s not a violation by Boeing if the company reports the violation to the federal government.

Don’t believe it?

Here’s the exact language:

“The commission of a defined offense by a Boeing employee shall not be deemed to constitute the commission of a defined offense by Boeing as long as the underlying allegation or conduct is reported by Boeing.”

The lawyers for Boeing did not return calls seeking their interpretation of these provisions.

Those lawyers, as listed in the non-prosecution agreement, are:

Brad Brian and Jerome Roth of Munger Tolles & Olson.

Stephen Preston and Jamie Gorelick of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

And Richard Cullen of McGuire Woods.

Only Boeing’s Tim Neale would speak on the issue.

“We’re not going to comment on what the provisions mean,” Neale said. “The agreement speaks for itself.”

Well, it does.

It means that over the past couple of years, we have gone from convicting corporate criminals for corporate crimes, to allowing them to get off with deferred and non-prosecution agreements, to the low point of the Boeing non-prosecution agreement, which says that even if Boeing violates the agreement, it’s not a violation.

Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Los Angeles did not return calls seeking answers to some questions, like:

Why wasn’t the Boeing non-prosecution agreement promptly released along with the civil agreement?

Did Boeing lawyers request that the non-prosecution agreement not be released?

Why did federal prosecutors agree to the loophole-ridden non-prosecution agreement?

Awaiting your call.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter.

Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor, and co-director of Essential Action, a corporate accountability group. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press; http://www.corporatepredators.org).

(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

 

 

 

 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
January 17, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: No Woman, No Cry
Kathleen Wallace
Hijacking the Struggles of Others, Elizabeth Warren Style
Robert Hunziker
The Rumbling Methane Enigma
Frank Joyce
Will the Constitution Fail Again?
Pete Dolack
Claims that the ‘NAFTA 2’ Agreement is Better are a Macabre Joke
Andrew Levine
Biden Daze
Vijay Prashad
Not an Inch: Indian Students Stand Against the Far Right
Ramzy Baroud
Sealed Off and Forgotten: What You Should Know about Israel’s ‘Firing Zones’ in the West Bank
Norman Solomon
Not Bernie, Us. Not Warren, Us. Their Clash Underscores the Need for Grassroots Wisdom
Ted Rall
America’s Long History of Meddling in Russia
David Rosen
The Irregulators vs. FCC: the Trial Begins
Jennifer Matsui
The Krown
Joseph Natoli
Resolutions and Obstacles/2020
Sarah Anderson
War Profiteering is Real
James McFadden
The Business Party Syndicate
Ajamu Baraka
Trump Prosecutors Make Move to Ensure that Embassy Protectors are Convicted
David Swanson
CNN is Trash
Rev. William Alberts
Finally a Christian Call for Trump’s Removal
Dave Lindorff
The ERA Just Got Ratified by Virginia, the Needed 38th State!
W. T. Whitney
Mexico Takes Action on Coup in Bolivia and on CELAC
Steve Early
How General Strike Rhetoric Became a Reality in Seattle 
Jessicah Pierre
Learning From King’s Last Campaign
Mark Dickman
Saint Greta and the Dragon
Jared Bernstein - Dean Baker
Reducing the Health Care Tax
Clark T. Scott
Uniting “Progressives” Instead of Democrats
Nilofar Suhrawardy
Trump & Johnson: What a Contrast, Image-wise!
Ron Jacobs
Abusing America’s Children—Free Market Policy
George Wuerthner
Mills Are Being Closed by National Economic Trends, Not Environmental Regulations
Basav Sen
Nearly All Americans Want Off of Fossil Fuels
Mark Ashwill
Playing Geopolitical Whack-a-Mole: The Viet Nam Flag Issue Revisited
Jesse Jackson
New Hope for One of America’s Poorest Communities
Binoy Kampmark
Harry and Meghan Exit: The Royal Family Propaganda Machine
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again!
Rob Okun
A Call to Men to join Women’s March
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
We All Need to Be Tree Huggers Now
Tom Stephens
The New York Times’ Delusions of Empire
Julian Rose
Fake-Green Zero Carbon Fraud
Louis Proyect
The Best Films of 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: Into Kosovo
Colin Todhunter
Gone Fishing? No Fish but Plenty of Pesticides and a Public Health Crisis
Julian Vigo
Can New Tech Replace In-Class Learning?
Gaither Stewart
The Bench: the Life of Things
Nicky Reid
Trannies with Guns: Because Enough is Enough!
James Haught
Baby Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark
David Yearsley
Brecht in Berlin
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail