While it has taken a long time for the federal government to get involved in prosecuting corporate crime, once it got started it hasn’t let up. That’s the good news. The government is continuing its across-the-board crackdown on corporate crime. As expected, however, the big business lobby led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continues to whine about it.
A former federal prosecutor, Frank Bowman III, has had some interesting things to say about the events leading up to the prosecutions. Mr. Bowman is currently special counsel to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and a professor at the University of Missouri School of Law. He says that big business should stop the whining and contends that the ongoing prosecutions of corporate crime are the fault of big business itself. Bowman wrote an article titled “Somebody Has to Cry Foul” in the August 18, 2008 issue of Legal Times and had this to say:
Business should recognize this swarm of prosecutors as a pestilence it brought upon itself. In a period of chronic under-regulation of business behavior, federal prosecutors stand as perhaps the only remaining authority able to hold corporate outlaws accountable for the misconduct that inevitably follows concentrations of wealth.
Interestingly, Bowman says that most wrongful business behavior should be handled by civil lawsuits and regulation. In this regard, he observed:
But those mechanisms have conspicuously atrophied over the past several decades. The staffing and capabilities of regulatory agencies stayed static or declined, while the size, complexity, speed, and global reach of business organizations exploded – along with their potential for serious criminal mischief. If regulators won’t regulate to prevent bad behavior before it happens, and prosecutors are barred from using broadly worded statutes to punish bad behavior after it happens, then only market mechanisms protect us from unscrupulous or criminally reckless businessmen. And nothing in the economic history of modern times suggests that market mechanisms are enough. In an under-regulated world, the price of relative freedom from prospective civil regulation is retrospective criminal punishment.
For years many executives in Corporate America believed they and their companies were above the law. They had no fear of being caught, and if they were they didn’t believe there would be any criminal law consequences. Instead of cleaning up their act, they pushed for “tort reform” which protects corporate wrongdoers. Hopefully, the days where “crime pays” are over. Nobody is above the law!
Source: Corporate Crime Reporter
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.