A Nation of the Corporations, by the Corporations, for the Corporations
April 09, 2008
If you're an American corporation, you no longer have to worry about trials for wrongdoing. Under Michael Mukasey's justice department, justice is an admonition, a wink, and a handshake:
In a major shift of policy, the Justice Department, once known for taking down giant corporations, including the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, has put off prosecuting more than 50 companies suspected of wrongdoing over the last three years.
Instead, many companies, from boutique outfits to immense corporations like American Express, have avoided the cost and stigma of defending themselves against criminal charges with a so-called deferred prosecution agreement, which allows the government to collect fines and appoint an outside monitor to impose internal reforms without going through a trial. In many cases, the name of the monitor and the details of the agreement are kept secret.