Payoff in the Pit of the Plutocracy
By Russell Mokhiber - Counterpunch
. . . . Connaughton says there have been no Wall Street prosecutions because the Obama Justice Department failed “to take a timely, targeted, all-in approach to the problem.”
“The truth is, the Justice Department never made investigating these actions a high priority,” he writes. “It never formed strike forces of investigators and lawyers that had sufficient resources and backing to doggedly pursue the obvious potential wrongdoers as long as it took to bring a fraud case.”
Prosecutors never used provisions in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which put in place tough criminal sanctions in the wake of Enron and other cases of massive corporate frauds, to indict those executives responsible for misleading financial reports.
“If Obama had appointed aggressive trial lawyers – and (Vice President Joe) Biden knew plenty of them – to these Justice Department positions and backed their efforts, there’s a good chance they would’ve hunted the worst Wall Street fraudsters relentlessly.”
“If the explanation for the inadequate effort is corruption (the administration could not afford to anger Wall Street contributors), the revolving door, or a belief that the health of the financial industry is more important than legal accountability, then we have an actual double standard. I don’t know the explanation, but in terms of faith in our institutions, it may not matter whether the double standard is real or apparent. That double standard has torn the social and moral fabric of our country in a way I find to be unforgivable.”
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