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Already spotlighted criminal sphere now receives even closer focus

There’s no question that the legal realm of white collar crime has received progressively more attention in recent years in Missouri and nationally. That has been especially true since the meltdown of the nation’s financial markets a few short years ago.

The aftermath of that frightful scare put a marked spotlight on corporate wrongdoing, specifically executives’ alleged acts of financial fraud. A growing public sentiment over the past decade has coalesced around a belief that, while rank-and-file company workers (e.g., lower-level employees and middle managers) are being held accountable for wrongdoing, their bosses are escaping liability.

Is that a fair assessment?

In fact, federal/state regulators and task forces have ratcheted up their probes and prosecutorial efforts appreciably over the past few years, with the white collar realm being under especially close scrutiny.

A recent national news piece stresses that reality and notes further that the white collar universe is about to be even further emphasized. The vehicle for ensuring that is the Corporate Executive Accountability Act (CEAA).

That would-be statutory law is most closely associated with U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), the high-profile presidential contender who has long railed against corporate fraud. Warren claims that too many top-rung decision makers escape accountability for wrongdoing they have engineered. The CEAA contains liberalized language addressing culpability thresholds that, if enacted, would make it easier to prosecute and imprison top executives.

The legislation has legions of supporters. It also has many critics, who voice broad-based concerns.

We will examine the CEAA-linked arguments on both sides in our next post.

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