WILL POWER REPORT: HONEST SERVICES? (NOT REQUIRED)

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Nothing but the Truth!

 

June 25, 2010 (San Diego's East County) -- In a body blow to prosecutors trying to stop bankers and broker from fleecing their customers, the conservative US Supreme Court today invalidated the "Honest Services" clause.

The case sent Enron's Jeffrey Skilling's case back to the trial court. It did not, however, overturn his conviction. It did make it very much more diffcult to prosecute financial crooks.

 

Let's face it. "Honest Services" is an oxymoron. In the banking and brokerage business "Honest Services" is simply a license to steal.

The entire investment industry is based upon fraud, misdirection, insider trading and speculative judo. It's the rich taking advantage of the poor. Why would we insist by statute that brokers be honest? It goes against the natural order of the investment business. There's a sucker born every minute!

What will this mean? Many current cases, not a few past cases, and some pending cases will all come under review.
 

The finding of the court was that unless there was bribery or extortion, mere mismanagement is not cause for criminal prosecution. Millions of brokers are today thanking God and George W. Bush. They are all out from the shadow of legal scrutiny and can now spend their ridiculous bonuses without fear of being subpoenaed in the middle of the night.

The striking of the "Honest Services" clause from the legal arsenal means that the unethical and disturbing business practices that caused the current recession can continue forever. Historians will review this case hundreds of years from now and repeat the obvious. This decision will destroy the good faith and trust necessary for the economy to operate safely and smoothly. It will be seen as a disaster for consumers, and a continued gift to corporate and banking interests which operate unethically with little fear of retaliation. It's going to hurt banks in the long run, even if they make money now.

 

Will Power is a retired history teacher and creative writing instructor.

The opinions in this column reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.