Category Archives: BP

Corporate Crimes and No Punishment


Since the Wall Street crisis of 2008, the CEOs who headed the firms and banks have not been prosecuted. Since the crisis, the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis released its final report and the findings showed no corporate crime found.

The commission used words like reckless, irresponsible, risky, and imprudent to describe the actions of the Wall Street firms and their CEOs but nothing about crime. On why this was the case, Commissioner Brooksley Born said, 

“Our mandate was to refer to the Attorney General or to the state authorities any individual that our investigations showed may have violated U.S. laws – whether civil or criminal. We did make several of those referrals. But we are not going to talk about any of the details of those referrals.”

This is because we live in a country with two systems of government, one for street crimes and one for blue collar crimes. The same occurred for the BP oil spill of 2010. There was also a commission formed to investigate the causes of the spill.

Former Senator Bob Graham who sat on the commision was asked by Russell Mokhiber of Common Dreams whether “there should be increased resources to criminal environmental enforcement to help deter this kind of behavior,” and Senator Graham said,

“When we first met with the president and he gave us our assignment, there was an understanding that our purpose was to develop the factual record upon which this event occurred, that it would be for others, specifically the Department of Justice, to determine if those facts constituted a criminal act, and if so, for what specific purpose.”

“So we did not undertake the issue of attempting to determine criminal liability. I will leave it to the readers of the report as to whether they believe they can find it in our factual program. Nor did we look specifically at the question of the resources necessary to reach a judgment as to whether a crime had been committed.”

As of this writing – in both the BP oil spill and the financial meltdown cases – no high level executives have been held responsible.