Things I’m Thinking About This Morning: George H.W. Bush,Weak Enforcement of laws against White Collar Crime and other things.

george hw

  • Reporting that Turkey is massing troops to wipe out the Kurds.
  • The new Secretary of Defense chosen by Trump. He has no military or political experience.  He worked for Boeing one of the two most important military contractors.  Who’s draining the swamp?
  • Jane Mayer’s book “Strange Justice” about Clarence Thomas. What a piece of scum this man is.  People who wanted to lament the demise of George H.W. Bush should remember that Bush gave us not only Willie Horton, but Clarence Thomas.
  • Arm sales and military support to Saudi Arabia to continue the war in Yemen.
  • The lax enforcement of laws against white collar crime. This weak enforcement has given us Trump, Manafort, Cohen, Wilbur Ross, Epstein and a host of others.  If these laws were enforced, these guys would be in jail.
  • In a related thought, the Justice Department’s decisions to settle a number of cases involving big pharma over pushing opioids. In the NYT, Barry Meier (12/26/18) reports the difficulty holding big Pharma accountable.
  • “A Gutted I.R.S. makes the Rich Richer,” article about lack of enforcement by the IRS on big violators.

Morning Notes: Cohen, Privatization, Butina, David Pecker, the new Attorney General in New York

Morning Notes:

  • Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison.  He is likely to serve about 85% of that.  It is still possible for him to agree to cooperate with prosecutors.  It appears that he was willing to provide information about other people’s crimes, but not willing to talk about his own.  The Southern District of New York requires cooperators to reveal all crimes, not just those selected by the defendant.
  • Mariia Butina has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.  I have no idea what that means since they are evidently planning to deport her back to Russia.  I can’t imagine that she would provide useful information and then go back to Russia.  The Russians, including Putin, tried to claim that they didn’t have any idea who Butina was, but the Russian embassy had a lot of contact with her while she has been incarcerated.
  • Robert Reich is warning that the Republicans are going to try to force through privatization of more government services before they leave office.
  • If Teresa May is rejected by her party, there will be a new prime minister.
  • A non-prosecution agreement has been reached with David Pecker, the National Enquirer guy who agreed to hide Trump’s affairs by buying and burying the stories.
  • The incoming New York Attorney General has announced that she plans to launch investigations about Trump and his activities.  butina

If White-Collar Crimes and Public Corruption were prosecuted, we wouldn’t even have to deal with Trump and Manafort. They would be in jail.

white collar

public corruption

Catherine Rampell reports that this year the United States is on track to prosecute the fewest white-collar and public corruption crimes on record.  And, it’s not because there aren’t crimes out there to be prosecuted as everyone who reads the news knows.  Syracuse University has published data cited by Rampell indicating that this fiscal year the fewest white-collar prosecutions on record will be persued (1986 is the first year available).  The prosecution of official corruption is almost as bad.  This is rivaled by prosecutions of tax-related frauds.  The charts below don’t even account for population increase.  If they did, the decline would look worse.

 

Bibliography

Catherine Rampell (8/8/18) How America stopped prosecuting White-Collar crime and public corruption.  Washington Post.