Thursday, August 16, 2007

White Collar Crime Prof: Naming Corporate Bribers May Be Unwise

Peter Henning at the White Collar Crime Prof blog reacts to Grits' recent reader survey on corporate bribery, declaring:
While it is certainly problematic to charge only one side of a corrupt transaction, it is not necessarily good to allege crimes in a public document when the person (or organization) has no means to fight the allegation. A conviction in the court of public opinion is tough to overcome.
I responded in the comments:

I don't understand why these companies aren't being charged. Where are the prosecutions of Corporations A-Z? Surely that's more than just "problematic." It's tantamount in my eyes to tolerating corruption.

And why shouldn't the court of public opinion reflect a company's alleged bribery of government officials? The soldiers' names are plastered all over every newspaper. If the US Attorney charges a soldier with receiving a bribe, by definition somebody must have bribed them. That person (or corporation) played an equal role in the transaction - without both, there would be no crime.

If there's enough evidence to charge the soldier, there should be enough evidence to hold bribe-giving companies accountable too, IMO, in both the courts of justice and of public opinion.
Since 92% of y'all agreed corporate bribe-givers should be named, I'm pretty sure I'm on safe ground with that assertion in this crowd!

For my part, I don't want the corporations named "in a public document when the person (or organization) has no means to fight the allegation." The professor and I agree on that. I want them named in indictments and in newspaper headlines, just like the soldiers they bribed.



spearshaker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Lets not reward corporatins for breaking the law. If a rouge employee bribed an official, soldier or whatever, go after that employee. If the company's culture was to give it tacit approval, go after them, too.

Anonymous said...

Corporations are constantly working in the court of public opinion. It is in their interest to be sure their public opinion is positive.

They should not receive special shelter when a crime has been committed just because of the risk of negative publicity.

Corporations are as able or unable to defend themselves as any 'common sholdier'. Why does this professor think they should be exempt from prosecution of their illegal acts?