Tuesday, May 31, 2005


The quality of justice, strained

Today the Arthur Andersen firm is let off the hook for all of the crimes it committed in the course of helping Enron to commit perhaps the largest swindle in history. Does anyone-- anyone-- think this would have been the same result if it had been Joe's Bookkeeping Services?
Sounds like a set piece to me: Instead of charging the people at the top who were really responsible, charge the whole company. The case fails, and the big fish get away, as intended, while the little fish lose their jobs. Perfect Republican plan. I'd do it myself, but I happen not to be a corrupt sociopathic jerkwad heading a huge company. Oh well.
It could be scripted, Shrimplate, but if so it's a little more complicated than a simple Republican plot. The Supreme Court, which includes two Democratic appointees, said that the judge misinstructed the jury. So, if it's a setup, either the judge is the culprit or the Supreme Court is in the tank.

My own feeling is that this is simply another case where the courts care about the rights of the defendant only when the defendant is a corporation. Let them show some concern for Jose Padilla, a highly unlikable defendant who has been incarcerated without charges and without access to a lawyer for 3 years and 23 days. Or give the head of Arthur Andersen the same treatment as Jose Padilla. Otherwise the law is mere hypocrisy.
I always thought it was unfair that Arthur Andersen got nailed while most of the Enron perps -- including Tom "illusory profits" White, who went on to become Army Secretary only to lose his gig for actually rediscovering his conscience and vocally opposing Bush's planned invasion of Iraq -- skated.

Unfortunately, it looks like the pendulum's swung to the other extreme.
In moral terms, Andersen was more corrupt than Enron, PW. Accountancy is a profession, i.e., a "faith" that one professes. Businessmen are by nature pirates, some less scrupulous than others. But none have "sworn an oath".

Accountants have, and when they go bad, it's a huge crime.
Yeah, but 28,000 people in the US alone paid with their careers for what happened to Arthur Andersen, and only a fraction of them had anything to do with Enron.

The overturned verdict won't bring AA back to life, either. It's not as if the company -- or what's left of it -- is being done any big favor by this ruling.
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