The Great Conciliator is showing possible signs of growing a spine. Sources report that notorious financial firm Goldman Sachs and mine operator Massey Energy Company are being probed for potential criminal charges.

For far too long, Corporate America has had the privilege of paying fines to resolve the consequences arising from behavior that would be classified as criminal were it conducted by private citizens. Frequently, these fines are paid “without admitting guilt,” a technicality that permits corporations to use the fine as the basis for significant tax write-offs.

For many corporations, breaking the law is standard operating procedure, and paying fines is merely a business expense. A few prominent examples include Merril Lynch, Virgin, Massey, AIG (2003, 2004 and 2006), Bank of America and so on. Corporate management and board members face little to no exposure for the implementation of misdeeds they direct; in response to public outrage, a wayward executive frequently receives a publicly announced termination coupled with a discrete six-figure “golden parachute” separation bonus.

The genuine possibility of criminal charges is needed to restore accountability and decency back into the boardrooms of Corporate America. CEOs like Massey head Don “Big D” Blankenship and Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd “Cash Money” Blankfein need to be investigated and, if necessary, tried for their offenses. I’d love to see the insidious and frightening power of the RICO Act imposed upon these vultures, but I’d be willing to settle for some Arthur Andersen style treatment.

The Obama Administration is far from perfect, but it must be lauded for these initial “baby steps” and encouraged to go further.

Comments

  • Christopher Nutter

    Brian,

    The government employs many Americans, but I don’t think you’ll embrace a pro-government view based on that alone. So it would be too much for you to expect me to become an acolyte of Corporatism based on their (reluctant) need for skilled American labor.

    “Corporate America” refers to the 500 or so mega-organizations that dominate global commerce.

    Troy/Liz,

    You have to look beyond the Democrat/Republican game. Of course Obama received a ton of money from Goldman Sachs; what’s more, he refuses to return the campaign contributions they provided. But you can’t honestly expect the Republicans to be any better.

    Both parties are responsible for the atmosphere of corruption because both parties jointly benefit from it. If you’re hard-core conservatives, I recommend you abandon the Tea Party mirage and join up with the Libertarians or Constitution Party.

    The GOP and Democrats are not enemies; they are in a symbiotic relationship that is mutually beneficial.

    • Brian H

      Nutter. The difference is that the evil corporations employ people with their own money and resources, the govt. does not. The govt. uses the wealth created by others to fund their bureaucracies.

  • Liz

    Obama is Goldman Sachs. He should be a stand up guy and go to the big house first.

  • Troy La Mana

    You know the Goldman Sachs Administration isn’t going to do anything. Besides, they are all set to clean up on the CCX scam.

  • Brian H

    Now if they would hold govt. up to the same standard. Perhaps Barney Frank and Chis Dodd should make the perp walk as well.

    Nutter. Who is “corporate America”? What makes up a corporation? I know it is easy demonize corporations but when you put the names and faces to them they are the entities that employ many many Americans.