Elizabeth Warren Orders Candidates Not To Make The ‘Shockingly Weak’ Mistake Obama Made
In anticipation of the Iowa caucuses, Senator Elizabeth Warren has enlisted the two Democratic front runners to avoid one of the Obama administration’s worst failures, if they do come to win the presidency. Warren has called out Barack Obama for the “shockingly weak” punishments given to corporations and executives and demands better justice in the future.
According to the Intercept, the office of Elizabeth Warren has released a 13-page report accusing the government of going easy on individuals with immense wealth and power, while harshly sentencing poorer individuals who commit the same kind of crimes. The report is called “Rigged Justice: How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy” and you can read it here in its entirety.
In it, Elizabeth Warren documents 20 different criminal cases that resulted in lenient punishments for corporations, which Warren claims are examples of “the federal government [failing] to require meaningful accountability.” These cases include indictments against pharmaceutical companies, the auto industry, and Wall Street.
“This report contains additional examples of feeble enforcement against corporate criminals in 2015. The examples raise the disturbing possibility that some giant corporations—and their executives—have decided that following the law is merely optional. For these companies, punishment for breaking the law is little more than a cost of doing business.”
Only one corporate executive listed in the report was convicted for the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster. Massey Energy CEO Donald Blankenship was slapped with a misdemeanor after a mine explosion resulted in the death of 29 people. According to CBS News, Blankenship was accused of prioritizing profits over the lives of his employees, but his lawyers successfully convinced the court that a prison sentence spanning several decades was “overkill.”
Elizabeth Warren cites many other examples as well, including a puny $900 million plea deal given to General Motors as a punishment for a product defect that resulted in the death of 124 people and injured hundreds more. To put things in perspective, $900 million is less than 1 percent of General Motor’s yearly profit. Elizabeth Warren holds President Obama partially responsible for this “rigged” justice system.
“The Obama administration has made repeated promises to strengthen enforcement and hold corporate criminals accountable, and the DOJ announced in September that it would place greater emphasis on charging individuals responsible for corporate crimes,” said Elizabeth Warren. “Nonetheless … accountability for corporate crimes is shockingly weak.”
In addition to Obama, Elizabeth Warren accuses the federal law enforcement agencies and the United States Justice Department for continually failing to convict corporate executives.
While Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have advocated in the past for harsher punishments for corporations, Elizabeth Warren is demanding follow-through on these promises. She says she will be closely monitoring the progress and holding the next national leader accountable for any future failings.
According to Raw Story, Elizabeth Warren plans to release a report of this nature every year to continually challenge the government to provide appropriate punishments to guilty business executives.
“If justice means a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car but it means nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars, then the promise of equal justice under the law has turned into a lie,” Elizabeth Warren continues in the report. “The contrast between the treatment of highly paid executives and everyone else couldn’t be sharper.”
While Elizabeth Warren hasn’t openly endorsed Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, she seems to have high expectations for whoever wins the nomination. At the very least, she expects the next American president to end the streak of “prosecutorial timidity” toward any individual with a lot of money and power.
Do you agree with Elizabeth Warren’s charge?
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