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Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival

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I went to the Library of Congress National Book Festival Saturday at the Washington, D.C. Convention.

There were more than 100 authors there, speaking about their books and signing them — including the wildly popular children’s book Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

More than 100,000 people attended the one day event.

But not one of the books dealt with corporate power, corporate control over the society, corporate crime and violence.

There have been so many great books written in recent months about the topic.

Matt Taibbi’s The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

Bradley Birkenfeld’s Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy.

Why Not Jail?: Industrial Catastrophes, Corporate Malfeasance, and Government Inaction by Rena Steinzer.

Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal by Eugene Soltes.

Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations by Brandon Garrett.

Capital Offenses: Business Crime and Punishment in America’s Corporate Age by Samuel Buell.

Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think by Ralph Nader.

The list goes on.

I’m walking through the giant DC Convention center, asking myself — why?

Why not one book on corporate power, corporate crime and corporate control?

I go downstairs to the massive ground level where the authors go to sign books.

And there, I see the answer.

It’s the children book’s area.

There, scores of children are sitting on the floor next to stuffed horses, listening to authors read books like Froggy Plays Soccer, Nellie Saves the Day and Too Many Tamales.

Behind them, a giant replica of a Wells Fargo bank.

Next to that — the famed Wells Fargo Stagecoach.

Wells Fargo being one of the main corporate sponsors of the Library of Congress National Book Festival.

Wells Fargo — the bank that pressured thousands of its employees to meet aggressive sales targets.

And a result, those employees went out and opened as many as two million unauthorized accounts, in some cases forging signatures — and were subsequently dismissed.

As Senator Elizabeth Warren put it this week to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf — “If one of your tellers took a handful of $20 bills out of the cash drawer, they probably would be looking at criminal charges for theft.”

“They could end up in prison,” Warren said. “But you squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket. And when it all blew up, you kept your job, you kept your multimillion dollar bonuses and you went on television to blame thousands of $12 an hour employees who were just trying to meet cross-sell quotas that made you rich. This is about accountability. You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. This just isn’t right.”

No books on corporate crime and corporate power at the Library of Congress Book Festival?

Maybe because Wells Fargo is sponsoring the event?

Maybe because Wells Fargo is reading books to children at the event?

The Library of Congress might say — hey, all this just went public after we set everything up with Wells Fargo.

Not so.

While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went public with its case against Wells Fargo on September 8, 2016, the Los Angeles Times ran an expose reporting the problem three years ago in December 2013.

Corporate crime.

Corporate power.

Corporate control.

Off the table.

More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

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