But similar FCPA cases involving Tyson Foods, Halliburton and Siemens did not result in jail sentences for individuals, instead were settled via secretly negotiated fines in "deferred prosecution" agreements made chic during the last Bush era.
The late Senator Arlen Specter fought this practice in Senate hearings, noting "fines are added to the cost of doing business...going to jail is what works to deter crime".
The NY Times' "Lots of Bribes, but Little Jail Time" showed how Walmart took note as Tyson's top execs escaped criminal charges of bribing Mexican officials, emboldened to sweep their scandal under the rug. When Obama lined his incoming cabinet with Wall Street attorneys, little changed.
Thus, it is already predicted President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and SEC chair Mary Schapiro will let Walmart's CEOs skate without criminal prosecution. The current administration is expected to continue to "sell justice", and our nation's #1 employer, knowing Obama always needs to pad jobs numbers, is likely to play hardball with the working poor used as ransom.
We reported last April that Walmart's goal of 20% market penetration nationwide is bad news for Main Street USA, small business owners and taxpayers. Areas that welcome Walmart have seen net job losses and lost wages as supermarkets, local shops and smaller retailers are displaced. Area profits are funnelled out as local tax bases are drained by the millions to provide healthcare and welfare checks for Walmart worker families.
Walmart is well known to have coached associates to apply for government aid such as food stamps, WIC or Section 8 housing subsidies. Walmart's "poverty wages" force taxpayers to choke up $3.6 billion per year in welfare and Medicaid to make up the difference. Walmart takes in profits over $15 billion per year to it's Arkansas headquarters.
The reasons to boycott Walmart are many, but the worst is knowing Obama would sell another get-out-of-jail card even after evidence has been plastered on the front pages of the nation's most serious papers (and also given to members of Congress). They scoff at the law as money makes it go away.
What could change this eventuality would be massive public outcry, but until this widening, deepening bribery scandal is covered in the "news", it will be another slow-motion travesty of justice. So share this story for the holidays!
Cross-posted at NYaltnews.com
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