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Supreme Court Guts Anti-Corruption Law [Ruth Bader Ginsberg]

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Joined: 16 Jul 2000
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Supreme Court Guts Anti-Corruption Law [Ruth Bader Ginsberg] PostMon Jul 05, 2010 7:34 pm  Reply with quote  

I heard that Ruth Bader Ginsberg is planning to retire. This is quite a nice parting gift to the white collar criminals.

Supreme Court Guts Anti-Corruption Law

Murder She Wrote

In a decision written by Ruth Bader Ginsberg the Supreme Court has gutted the most important section of anti-corruption safeguards in US corporation law. No longer is it illegal for corporation officers in finance or commerce "deprive another of the intangible right of honest service." Enron’s CEO Jeffrey Skilling, whose appeal led to the decision, is now off the hook. From now on all deception of financial and business customers is allowed unless there is a specific kickback or bribery in evidence. If a broker sticks you with a bad investment, misrepresenting everything, hiding from you his true evaluation of the investment for his own gain, that is OK. Only if someone else is caught paying him to deceive you will the case be actionable.

Hundreds of previous convictions will now be vacated and the the white collar class will go free and get their fines back. It is now open season on the unsophisticated and gullible -- and unsophistication is relative, depending on who has the fastest computer, the sharpest corporation lawyers, and the most tricky mathematical economists (e.g. Lawrence Summers).

Now the "honest service" law may be used only to prosecute bribery or kickbacks -- if the deception was motivated by personal gain or a tacit understanding of mutual gain in a conspiracy persecutors can forget about it. If you screw people for your friends or you class or your secret fraternity it is now OK -- as long as you were altruistic about it and didn't take any direct compensation.

From now on federal prosecutors seeking to fight public corruption will be constrained by the rule: Now, if you can't find a bribe or a kickback then any form of dishonesty in representing an investment or venture cannot be prosecuted. What used to be left up to the jury to interpret -- what is honest service in financial transactions -- is now determined by rigid narror and rare criteria of whether a kickback or bribe has been paid. The honest services provision is no longer a threat to Money Power organized crime. Federal prosecutors used the law to pursue corrupt public officials and business executives who use their position for personal gain. You won't be seeing much of that any more. The fine net of justice for catching the big fish looks more like a tic-tac-toe grid with squares a mile wide.

Bader, Darling of White Collar Crime

This ruling will affect the investigations of Alan Mendelsohn, an indicted Republican campaign fundraiser; convicted Ponzi schemer and political donor Scott Rothstein; former House Speaker Ray Sansom; former GOP chairman Jim Greer; and other lawmakers who held Republican Party credit cards. Honest services charges also have been used regularly in public corruption cases stemming from the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, including in the pending retrial of former Abramoff associate Kevin Ring.
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