Over the past several years we have reported on huge corporations that violated the law, paid large fines, and kept right on “trucking” without missing a beat. Surely the fact that Corporate America pours millions into political campaigns couldn’t be a factor in influencing how the government deals with corporate wrongdoers. But let’s consider the current spending by some companies. Ten corporations have already funneled over $18 million to Democrats and Republicans into 2012 political campaigns. That information comes from a report in a recent print edition of the Corporate Crime Reporter. Interestingly, these ten corporations gave $12.213 million to Republicans and $6.230 million to Democrats.
According to Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, “[t]en out of the current top 100 donors to the 2012 political campaign have pled guilty to crimes.” The Reporter reviewed the contributions made by the companies and organizations on the Center for Responsive Politics list of the top 100 donors to the 2012 campaign. According to Mokhiber, only companies were included on the list that have pled “guilty to criminal offenses.” The top ten corporate donors that have pled guilty and paid fines and which have donated to 2012 political campaigns are:
• Honeywell pled guilty to environmental crimes in 2011 and paid $2.449 million;
• Lockheed pled guilty in a bribery case in 1995 and paid $2.192 million;
• Blue Cross Blue Shield BCBS Illinois pled guilty to Medicare fraud in 1998 and paid $2.186 million;
• Boeing pled guilty in a secrets case in 1989 and paid $2.010 million;
• General Electric pled guilty to fraud and bribery in 1992 and paid $1.885 million;
• Northrop pled guilty to procurement fraud in 1990 and paid $1.840 million;
• Koch Industries Koch Petroleum unit pled guilty to environmental crimes in 1992 and paid $1.612 million;
• Raytheon pled guilty in a secrets case in 1990 and paid $1.466 million;
• Pfizer pled guilty to price fixing in 1999 and paid $1.367 million; and
• Exxon pled guilty in the Valdez oil spill disaster in 1991 and paid $1.326 million which was far too little.
I wonder: How many of these corporations have had contracts with the U.S. Government? I also wonder how the bosses at the companies feel about government regulation. My final question is: How can politicians take money legally from companies that commit wrongdoing and pay fines?
When individual wrongdoers give political contributions, both Democrats and Republicans “are forced to give the money back,” according to Mokhiber. Most recently, President Obama’s campaign gave back a $35,800 campaign contribution made by Shervin Neman. Neman was accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of engaging in a Ponzi scheme. When it became known that he had been accused of running a Ponzi scheme, President Obama’s campaign was forced to give the money back. But even though the ten corporations listed in the CCR Report pled guilty to some pretty bad conduct, the politicians were able to keep their money. Both parties take big bucks from these corporations and then run – without shame – to the bank. Why aren’t they forced to give the money back? Maybe they shouldn’t have to – what do you think?
Source: Corporate Crime Reporter
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