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Cracking Down On Corporate Crime: Band-AIDS Vs. Radical Transformation? A Roundtable Discussion of Capitol Hill's Corporate-Funded Proposals, and Some Radical Alternatives

July 18, 2002

"House Approves Tough Business Reform Measure"

"House Republicans In Scramble To Act Over Company Fraud"

"House Ok’s Tough Action Against Fraud — Public Anger Fuels Fast Response On Corporate Crime"

These are a few of yesterday’s headlines from the mainstream media. Republicans in the House are scrambling to appease an angry public following a wave of corporate scandals. They are concerned that the public will turn against them in the upcoming congressional elections.

And yet, the Washington Post reported yesterday House Speaker Dennis Hastert defied the pleas of several rank-and-file Republicans, and rejected the Senate’s reform bill. The decision gave accounting industry lobbyists more time to press their congressional allies for leniency. Now House GOP leaders are already maneuvering to delay and dilute the Senate’s reform bill.

So we have two stories about what’s going on: the Republicans are acting "tough on corporate crime", and, the Republicans are as usual trying to subvert the Democrats, who are even tougher on corporate crime.

But no one in the mainstream media is asking, are the Republicans and Democrats actually very different on this issue? Are they really trying to reign in corporations? Both parties are funded by corporations. According to the nonpartisan organization Democracy 21, corporations and business executives have poured a staggering $1 billion in soft money into Washington in the last decade. They gave $636 million to Republicans and $449 million to Democrats.

Today on Democracy Now! we’ll have a different kind of discussion. We’ll compare the corporate-funded proposals on Capitol Hill, but then we’ll broaden the discussion to take a look at some revolutionary proposals that come not from corporate-funded politicians, but from the people.


  • Damon Silvers, associate general counsel of the AFL-CIO.
  • Richard Grossman, co-founder of Corporations, Law and Democracy.
  • Bob Monks, founder of Institutional Shareholder Services, Lens Investment Management, and Hermes-Lens Investment Management. He is a well-known, Republican shareholder activist.
  • Robert Hinkley, corporate securities lawyer of 22 years. He is a former partner in the New York law firm at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He left his partnership with Skadden to promote a legally enforceable Code for Corporate Citizenship.

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