Corporate Citizens?

The record of this administration should be the textbook example in why corporations are not “persons”. And now, before they can’t get away with it anymore, it’s time for the payback. As if most of the laws and tax cuts haven’t done enough…

Groups draft plan to protect corporate America:
New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Frustrated with laws and regulations that have made companies and accounting firms more open to lawsuits from investors and the government, corporate America — with the encouragement of the Bush administration — is preparing to fight back.

Now that corruption cases such as Enron and WorldCom are falling out of the news, two influential industry groups with close ties to administration officials are hoping to swing the regulatory pendulum in the opposite direction. The groups are drafting proposals to provide broad new protections to corporations and accounting firms from criminal cases brought by federal and state prosecutors, as well as a stronger shield against civil lawsuits from investors.”

At some point America will wake up to the fact that most corporations are not good citizens. They are required by law to ignore good and make money for their investors. Only when most corporations’ feet are held to the fire of regulation and the threat of consequences for their officers, do they even act like they are good citizens. Usually, it takes the light of public disclosure to force these actions.

It once was the “job” of the media to inform the citizenry. In the days of local media ownership, this worked. Today’s corporate media ownership has pretty much passed on the job of informing on itself.

“The groups also hope to reduce what they see as some burdens imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, landmark post-Enron legislation adopted in 2002. The law, which placed significant auditing and governance requirements on companies, gave broad discretion for interpretation to the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

Look’s like Sarbanes-Oxley wasn’t a problem until control of the government became a question. If you can’t control the head of the agency, you may have a problem with ignoring the intent of the law. Hell, they may even hire more lawyers.

“The proposals will begin to be laid out in public shortly after Election Day, members of the groups said in recent interviews. One of the committees was formed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and until recently was headed by Robert Steel.
Steel was sworn in last Friday as the new Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, and he is the senior official in the department who will be formulating Treasury’s views on the issues being studied by the two groups.”

Here we go again, putting the fox to guard the hen house.