It’s a little frustrating. A decade after the financial crisis that nearly demolished the world economy, there has been little if any accountability. Citizens, many victims of essentially criminal acts by huge multinationals, wonder “Why isn’t anyone going to jail? Isn’t that kind of thing illegal?”
Well, yes, fraud is still illegal, but the Department of Justice doesn’t seem to handle it that way anymore. The Chickenshit Club explores how the DOJ, and the regulators who rely on it for criminal enforcement, changed after successful prosecutions of Enron, WorldCom and other last century harbingers of impending financial doom.
It’s a sad tale of dedicated prosecutors and investigators hemmed in by front office politicians far closer to the center of corporate power than to the people they should serve, losing their edge, their institutional memory, and ultimately, their mission. If you want to know how deferred prosecution agreements and “chump change” fines replace criminal convictions and jail time, this book has the answers.
Filled with horrifying examples of the revolving door between high powered corporate law firms and high ranking government positions, The Chickenshit Club is an informative read, but not a very happy one. As Eisinger notes in conclusion, “Any hope for tougher corporate enforcement appears laughably misplaced.” Sigh.