World — In 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, on behalf of the Department of Justice, pledged to usher in a new era of accountability in big finance: “We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and will not hesitate to bring charges, where appropriate, for criminal misconduct on the part of businesses and business executives.”
Those “relentless” efforts are yielding fewer and fewer results. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, federal prosecutions for fraud in the financial sector are down to one-third of what they were a decade ago—even in the aftermath of one of the largest financial collapses in U.S. history.
Furthermore, the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) released a report this month that chronicles, among other things, how the Department of Justice (DOJ) has failed to prosecute a single top executive from elite financial institutions. The DOJ continued the trend when it recently announced no charges would be brought against Goldman Sachs or its employees for playing a role in the 2008 financial meltdown.
Last year, Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., the top two members on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, called for a criminal investigation after releasing a 635-page report on what went wrong leading up to the collapse.
“The free market has helped make America great, but it only functions when people deal with each other honestly and transparently,” Coburn said. “At the heart of the financial crisis were unresolved, and often undisclosed, conflicts of interest.”
Levin said the investigation turned up a “financial snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest, and wrongdoing.”Continue Reading on www.worldmag.com