# Enron - a case for government regulation of corporations

Mentor
P: 22,302
 Quote by edward Thats my point, the criminal cases haven't been published...
The source for the info in your post was a law journal - they have been published.
PF Gold
P: 876
 Quote by russ_watters The source for the info in your post was a law journal - they have been published.
Not by the DOJ. and the source indicates that. Which also is exactly what I stated.
Mentor
P: 22,302
Sorry, misred - you want one from the DoJ. But I still don't understand why that would matter - the DoJ isn't a newspaper or journal or tv station and these reports are already published in such outlets. So what extra good would it do for the DoJ to produce an additional report? Ie:
 Otherwise they only appear in the news media on a hit or miss basis as there are prosecuted.
Well, and in general compilations like the one you linked.
 If the general public could see a list of the yearly illegal activity of large corporations...
 It would at least let people know in a more timely manner...
How would a yearly summary be more "timely" than publishing them as they come, like the media already does?

Maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of this than you even thought it was in the first place, but you did fill about two feet of forum space with the list you posted. It just seems to me that your list answers your own suggestion.
PF Gold
P: 876
 Quote by russ_watters Sorry, misred - you want one from the DoJ. But I still don't understand why that would matter - the DoJ isn't a newspaper or journal or tv station and these reports are already published in such outlets. So what extra good would it do for the DoJ to produce an additional report? Ie: Well, and in general compilations like the one you linked. Like the one you linked....? How would a yearly summary be more "timely" than publishing them as they come, like the media already does?
The DOJ would make the list official, not the hodgepoge of various media stories that certain people claim are biased.

 Maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of this than you even thought it was in the first place, but you did fill about two feet of forum space with the list you posted. It just seems to me that your list answers your own suggestion.
Not at all, the list from the link covered the entire decade of the nineties and only included the 100 worst. I don't want to wait ten years to find out who did what. Yet at the same time I was trying to make the point that there is an enormous number of corporate scandals happening. The smaller ones are not always reported in the Media.

You seem to make a bigger deal out of eveything Russ. OK I admit it I do it myself sometimes, but my post was on topic and informative. So was the link to Boeing being fined $15 Million. Regardless, the corporate scandals have to stop. And the only way that is going to happen is if they are watched like a hawk. P: 1,550  Quote by edward The DOJ would make the list official, not the hodgepoge of various media stories that certain people claim are biased. Not at all, the list from the link covered the entire decade of the nineties and only included the 100 worst. I don't want to wait ten years to find out who did what. Yet at the same time I was trying to make the point that there is an enormous number of corporate scandals happening. The smaller ones are not always reported in the Media. You seem to make a bigger deal out of eveything Russ. OK I admit it I do it myself sometimes, but my post was on topic and informative. So was the link to Boeing being fined$15 Million. Regardless, the corporate scandals have to stop. And the only way that is going to happen is if they are watched like a hawk.
So instead of the media coverage of these issues the DoJ should spend how ever many thousands of dollars they will wind up saying the project costs to issue a list so that the media can tell us who is on the list?
Emeritus
PF Gold
P: 11,155
 Quote by edward The DOJ would make the list official, not the hodgepoge of various media stories that certain people claim are biased.
You'd trust a White House document over something reported by the media ?
PF Gold
P: 876
 Quote by TheStatutoryApe So instead of the media coverage of these issues the DoJ should spend how ever many thousands of dollars they will wind up saying the project costs to issue a list so that the media can tell us who is on the list?
Thats about it. The media would have an official list rather than the hodgepodge of articles I mentioned. The list could also be posted on the DOJ web site. From my point of view it would be better to have all of the incidents listed in one place. If you had to make a grocery list federal style it would be on 18 differen't sheets of paper, then you would have to find the sheets in 12 differen't places.

It doesn't cost much at all to keep a runing tally of information. Putting it together later from the various places the information has been recorded does.

Example: When my local paper requested information from the Arizona sector of the Border Patrol about how many illegals had been detained trying to enter the country in a certain time frame, and the countries of origin of those illegals, The Border patrol didn't have a list with that information. The News paper had to gain access to Border Patrol records and compile the list on it's own.

The Border Patrol now keeps that info on in one place. BTW the illegals were from 17 differen't countries.
Mentor
P: 22,302
 Quote by Gokul43201 You'd trust a White House document over something reported by the media ?
Can irony cause a heart attack? I've made my point... Russ, out.
 Sci Advisor HW Helper P: 2,280 I think I tend to agree with Astronuc to a certain degree. The corporate scandals are bad, but there's always going to be a criminal element. As long as offenders are punished and the punishment is effective in keeping the amount of corporate crime, the system works. The involvement of auditing firms such as Arthur Anderson and investment firms such as Merrill Lynch is more disturbing. These are companies people rely on for honest information about the market. The average investor just doesn't have the time to become an investment expert. They have to rely on information from others. If you can't trust the auditing firms and investment firms that monitor and analyze corporations, investors lose more than just money - they lose faith in the entire system and the entire market crashes. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (the solution to the Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, Arthur Anderson crimes) addresses this, but I'm not sure it goes far enough. It requires auditing firms to change which auditors within its company audit a corporation, but it doesn't require corporations to change which auditing firm audits them. It prevents individuals within an auditing firm from colluding with a corporation to commit fraud, but Arthur Anderson was involved in over half of the major recent scandals. That's a top to bottom problem, not just a couple crooks within the firm. Likewise, Merrill Lynch tended to take some adverse action against individual investment analysts that raised concerns about corporations favored by Merrill Lynch's management. We really need some protection against firms creating a culture of corruption within their offices vs. protection against individual crime. And, in a more cynical vein, here's a list of the best federal prisons to serve time in for those of you aspiring to become a CEO: The 12 best places to go to prison
Mentor
P: 22,302
 Quote by BobG The involvement of auditing firms such as Arthur Anderson and investment firms such as Merrill Lynch is more disturbing.
I certainly agree with that. That execs in corporations will sometimes flout the law for personal profit isn't all that surprising and as long as they continue to get punished for it, I'm ok with the way things are. But the idea that a company as respected as AA could actually conspire with the people they were charged with auditing would have seemed laughable before it happened.

Fortunately, AA fell almost as hard as Enron, and perhaps the two cases will send a message about the risks of such actions - that they do not go unpunished.

Aside: Interestingly, looked up AA before posting this and found that their conviction was overturned for technical reasons last year. Still, though the company technically still exists, it is roughly 1/100th the size it used to be, with virtually all of its employees dealing with the fallout from the scandal. It is unlikely to ever recover.
P: 21,880
 HOUSTON — A U.S. judge Wednesday approved a $6.6 billion civil settlement by three banks accused by Enron Corp. shareholders of helping the company hide financial misdeeds that led to its collapse. The settlements to be paid to former Enron shareholders include$2.4 billion from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, $2.2 billion from JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and$2 billion from Citigroup (C). U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon gave preliminary approval to the settlement with the three banks in February. Including earlier settlements with firms such as Lehman Brothers (LEH) and Bank of America (BAC), shareholders are now due to receive more than $7.2 billion of the$40 billion plaintiffs in the cases have claimed they lost in Enron's collapse. The civil suit filed by shareholders against Enron, its banks and several former top executives including Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling and Andrew Fastow, is scheduled to start in October, according to lead shareholder attorney William Lerach.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,196794,00.html

A conservative buddy of mine sent me the link. Otherwise I wouldn't use FOX.
 Emeritus Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 12,501 And the verdicts are: GUILTY!!! Lay and Skilling are not having a good day. Interestingly, they will be sentenced on Sept 11.
PF Gold
P: 7,363
 Quote by Ivan Seeking And the verdicts are: GUILTY!!! Lay and Schilling are not having a good day. Interestingly, they will be sentenced on Sept 11.
What timing! They could be ordered to report to prison, say, November 13th to begin their sentences, and Bush would still have plenty of time to pardon them both after the mid-term elections, without them having to serve even a day.
HW Helper
P: 2,280
 Quote by turbo-1 What timing! They could be ordered to report to prison, say, November 13th to begin their sentences, and Bush would still have plenty of time to pardon them both after the mid-term elections, without them having to serve even a day.
You think he'd be willing to take yet another hit in the polls just because Lay, Enron, and Enron employees chipped in nearly $2 million dollars over the course of Bush's rise to Governor of Texas and on to President of the United States? Bush-Lay PF Gold P: 7,363  Quote by BobG You think he'd be willing to take yet another hit in the polls just because Lay, Enron, and Enron employees chipped in nearly$2 million dollars over the course of Bush's rise to Governor of Texas and on to President of the United States? Bush-Lay
Well, he can't be elected President again, and he's got a guaranteed pension, and his daddy will get him a very lucrative position with the Carlisle group when he's out of office, so why should he care what the polls say? He can either pardon "the boys" right after the mid-terms, or right after the 2008 election. The question is whether the \$2 million is worth the 2 years in the country club detention center.
P: 21,880
A headline I received - Enron Appeal? Good Luck, Many Lawyers Say
 Lawyers for Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling are expected to appeal Thursday's guilty verdicts against their clients, in which a Houston jury found that the former Enron executives lied to investors as their company spiraled into bankruptcy. But many legal experts say that getting the decision overturned will be exceedingly difficult. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is widely considered to be friendly to government prosecutors, and the legal standard for reversal is high, lawyers said.
http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/?p=3517

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3898668.html

http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...198371,00.html
 Regardless of whether the jury verdict against Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling is upheld, testimony from 56 days of trial has sealed what is sure to be history's judgment, according to an analysis by The New York Times' Kurt Eichenwald.
 The government scored a huge win with the convictions and some experts think it will embolden prosecutors to pin even more responsibility on executives for business failures. But Forbes.com argues that a prosecutor's zeal wanes in direct proportion to the visibility of the target.
I still maintain that the legal system, particularly the body of laws regarding commerce and the conduct of business, should be direct and straightforward, and not ambiguous, with regard to accountability of corporate leaders. It doesn't seem that way, otherwise, whey did these guys think they were not responsible at the point when and where they new something was terribly wrong with the company.

The appropriate action would have been for Lay and Skilling to notify authorities that something was amiss so that sale of stock could have been suspended. But they seem to have been involved, at least in the shenanigans of Fastow.

This should never have happened in the first place!
HW Helper
P: 2,280
 Quote by Astronuc The appropriate action would have been for Lay and Skilling to notify authorities that something was amiss so that sale of stock could have been suspended. But they seem to have been involved, at least in the shenanigans of Fastow. This should never have happened in the first place!
More than that. Skilling's the one who created a cut-throat climate where employees would do anything to survive, let alone get ahead. He and his top staff would rank the employees, giving rewards to those who reported the biggest profits and firing those at the bottom of the list. As long as the reports showed big profits, it didn't matter what was behind the reports. He had plausible deniability - he didn't ask and he didn't care. When fraudulent reports are running through the entire organization, you have to hold the person at the top that created the environment accountable even if he didn't actually do any of the dirty work. Fastow was more the star peformer within Skilling's environment rather the creator of the environment.
P: 21,880
 He had plausible deniability - he didn't ask and he didn't care.
I don't see Skilling as having plausible deniability - but rather "criminal negligence" at least - and perhaps some form of malfeasance.

The original company in which I worked took a nosedive, partly due to mismanagement. I organized a coup to sack the COB/President, and I was successful. I actually got more votes to be on the board myself than the COB/Pres. Unfortunately, I didn't get enough to be on the board, and my VP was elected with others. The outside board members all subsequently resigned. Another VP was elected to board and they named him President, but he turned out to be another total idiot.

The VP of my division then orchestrated the sale of our division to another company during the following year. I left after that for a better job and much less BS.

I ended up losing a good chunk of cash which was supposed to safe in a retirement account. Others lost even more, but the senior managers, including the one's we sacked made off with a lot of cash that they had secretly protected.

I have zero tolerance for corruption and corporate mismanagement.

I probably could have pressed for criminal investigations, except that would have forced me to compromise the well-being of my family. If I had been alone, I would have gone after those corrupt and negligent managers - with any and all legal means.

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