Ep. 033 – Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives

It’s hard to believe that we’re coming up on the ninth anniversary of the financial crisis that contributed to the Great Recession. What’s frustrating and mystifying is how many people, or lack thereof, actually faced the music for contributing to the debacle.

The anemic response from the Department of Justice sparked today’s guest, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jesse Eisinger, to write The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives.

How can it be that no major bankers were charged or put in prison after the financial crisis of 2008?

The Chickenshit Club, an inside reference to those prosecutors who were too scared of failure and too daunted by legal impediments to execute the duties of their jobs, explains why. The pages span the last decade and a half of prosecutorial flops, corporate lobbying, trial losses and culture shifts that have stripped the government of the will and ability to prosecute top corporate executives.

But it wasn’t always this way. In the 1970s, it was commonplace that top corporate executives, not just seedy crooks and drug dealers, could commit crimes and actually be sent to prison.

What changed between then and now? Is it a problem that can be corrected? If so, how? The Chickenshit Club provides a clear, detailed explanation as to how our Justice Department has come to avoid, bungle, and mismanage the fight to bring white-collar criminals to justice.

You can follow Jesse and his latest reporting on Twitter.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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