Opinion Opinion | The Justice Department Is Turning a Blind Eye to White-Collar Crime
Brunswick GA: For Black residents of Ahmaud Arbery's hometown, trust in the justice system is on trial right alongside his accused killers
Carrying signs that read "Justice for Ahmaud," the demonstrators marched past majestic live oaks draped with Spanish moss. They chanted Ahmaud Arbery's name as they wound through the streets, past a hardware store, several homes, a convenience store. They rounded the corner by the floral shop, calling for those watching from the sidewalk to join them. © Elijah Nouvelage for CNN Protesters march from the Glynn County Courthouse to the Brunswick African American Cultural Center. © Elijah Nouvelage for CNN A handwritten "I Run With Maud" sign is seen on the facade of an unoccupied building in Brunswick.
Progressives were thrilled this week when President Joe Biden picked Jonathan Kanter to lead the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. Along with, the choice of someone Google, Apple and Amazon in the courts on antitrust issues shows that the administration is interested in pushing back on the runaway power of Big Tech.
But antitrust is just one part of the much broader landscape of corporate and white-collar law enforcement. And in almost every other respect, after four years of the Trump administration rolling back scrutiny on everything from consumer fraud to corporate tax evasion, there is little indication that Merrick Garland’s Justice Department is moving to put teeth back into Washington’s approach. Indeed, six months into Biden’s presidency, the DOJ seems to be paying virtually no attention to one of our country’s most pressing and persistent law enforcement problems.
Hate crime laws across the U.S. lack uniformity in addressing violence, civil rights report says
Hate crime laws in the U.S. are inconsistent and limited in addressing bias-motivated violence, according to a report by civil rights advocates.The report, released Wednesday by the Movement Advancement Project, conducts a nationwide review of hate crime laws to reveal their variances and flaws in responding to crimes based on biases against racial minorities, LGBTQ+ and disabled individuals, among others.
Data fromindicated that financial fraud and corporate misconduct were at all-time highs when Biden took office, and since then, , and all released data that showed things had gotten only worse in areas of misconduct under their respective purviews.
Under, the number of white-collar criminal prosecutions — which had already been steadily declining — repeatedly hit , according to data maintained by Syracuse University that covers everything from complex securities and tax fraud cases to crude but effective consumer fraud schemes. There was a further and significant dip during the pandemic and although there has been an uptick as the country has slowly returned to normalcy, we are the average, record-low pre-pandemic level.
Supreme Court backs Tennessee in water rights dispute with Mississippi
Mississippi sought at least $615 million in damages in a case that could have ramifications for drinking water supplies shared by other states.The case, which yielded the first decision of the Supreme Court's 2021-2022 term, came to the court when Mississippi claimed Tennessee was pumping hundreds of billions of gallons of water from the Middle Claiborne Aquifer located under Mississippi's borders.
Prosecutions have not just been fewer but also less successful: The Wall Street Journal recently produced aconfirming — that the DOJ has been losing a disproportionate number of its highest-profile white-collar criminal cases since the Obama administration.
It is difficult to quantify the exact impact of these trends. By some, white-collar crime costs Americans $300 billion to $800 billion per year. Although that wide an estimate merits some skepticism, the uncertainty is due in part to the fact that the federal government does not collect data on the national prevalence of financial crime in the way that it does for . This is to say nothing of the personal impact on the millions of people who are victimized every year by financial fraud — a crime because people are embarrassed to admit they have been victimized and are skeptical the government will actually do anything to help them, which, given the enforcement trends, is a depressingly rational concern.
Liberals may end up liking much of Merrick Garland's Justice Department after all
Attorney General Merrick Garland's effort to restore public trust in the Justice Department quietly may be turning into one progressive Democrats like, after months of handwringing among some critics on the left that he would block accountability for Trump-era abuses. © Mandel Ngan/AP In this April 26, 2021 photo, Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice in Washington. In a court filing Tuesday, the Justice Department rejected pro-Trump Republican Rep. Mo Brooks's request to be shielded from a lawsuit related to his incendiary comments before the January 6 Capitol attack.
Aover the past year has raised increasingly loud alarms about this state of affairs and have offered a range of proposals to counter these trends, but there is no indication the Biden administration or anyone in a leadership position in the Justice Department has taken any interest outside of the antitrust context.
At the moment, like most of, its efforts in this area are largely being run by holdover, acting and career officials, but a new president and attorney general can signal their law enforcement priorities when they appoint new and high-profile leaders — in much the way that Biden followed through on his to prioritize civil rights enforcement and policing reform when he nominated and to senior positions in the department. The administration’s commitment to those areas and to antitrust policy is clear, but at the moment, Biden has not nominated anyone to run the DOJ’s or a single new prosecutor at the U.S. attorney level — including in the jurisdictions where a substantial amount of the country’s most important white-collar criminal work takes place (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.).
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The nominee for the head of the Criminal Division, which oversees the D.C.-based white-collar enforcement efforts, was, but neither he nor the Biden administration’s of the division have shown any meaningful interest in this area — through plaintiff-side litigation like the work Kanter, Gupta and Clarke did in their areas of expertise, or in public speaking or writing —much less offered an agenda of any sort. The same is true for the people whose names have been floated in the press as likely nominees for the major U.S. Attorneys’ offices.
The pandemic has made matters even more pressing. Major areas of pandemic-related fraud — in particular,and — were largely ignored by the Trump DOJ, even though these were . The Biden DOJ itself seems to be struggling to wrap its head around the issue, having issued a surreal, back-patting on pandemic fraud enforcement in March, only to set up on pandemic fraud months later; the belated change in posture was welcome notwithstanding the DOJ’s failure to provide any insight into what had changed about its assessment in the interim. More broadly under the Trump DOJ, everything from the department’s approach to investigations to specific grew increasingly disconnected from pressing, real-world problems, and there is no sign so far that the Biden DOJ will prioritize reversing that trend.
Hate Crimes Documented by Police Disproportionately List Black People as Attackers: Report
"These commonly discussed perceptions that the perpetrators of anti-Asian hate are mainly Black or African American are not accurate," Marita Etcubañez said.Released Wednesday, the report is a comprehensive national review of hate crime laws that shows where laws variate. It also cited widespread flaws in data collection and reporting. Though the majority of hate crimes in the U.S. are committed by white people, motivated by racial or ethnic bias, the crimes disproportionately reported Black Americans as the attackers.
There is no shortage of recommendations, as I. Among other things, the department should seek additional funding for this work, initiate a uniform federal effort to collect data on the national prevalence of financial crime, direct U.S. Attorneys’ offices to make white-collar crime a key priority for enforcement, revisit its corporate criminal enforcement guidelines, and work to improve stateside coordination between the DOJ and our regulatory agencies as well as global coordination between the department and its international law enforcement partners.
Needless to say, this is all much easier said than done, but before any of it could possibly happen, the Biden-Garland DOJ must actually take a concerted interest in the area and back it up with the commitment of high-level personnel and a considerable amount of time and energy. Every day that this does not happen, Americans are paying the price.
Justices' views on abortion in their own words and votes .
WASHINGTON (AP) — When the Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday over whether Mississippi can ban abortions after 15 weeks, the justices will be focused on an issue that has dominated the term. Not only is there Mississippi’s call to overrule Roe v. Wade, but justices are already considering a Texas law banning abortion at roughly six weeks and written to make it difficult to mount legal challenges against it. The justices won't be writing onThe justices won't be writing on a blank slate as they consider the future of abortion rights in the U.S. They have had a lot to say about abortion over the years — in opinions, votes, Senate confirmation testimony and elsewhere.