Kroft: Why Have No Banking Executives Been Prosecuted?
(Recorded Aug. 12, 2012)
Steve Kroft gives up hope.
At the 5:18 mark, Kroft's epitaph is utterly sickening in its hopelessness:
"I think this is the last story I’ll do about nobody being held accountable because I really have sort of given up. I don’t think that the federal government—either the S.E.C. or the Justice Department—are going to believe in bringing cases against individuals. I just don’t think that they’re going to."
Kroft tried pretty hard on 60 Minutes to get at the real roots of the financial crisis. And yet he never put the blade into punks like Lanny Breuer. How in the hell do you do an interview about the lack of criminal prosecutions without having a basis for historical comparison, say, the 3400 people who went to jail for the S&L frauds? When Breuer says, "well, it's just soooooooooo hard to prove criminal intent," I mean, put it to him:
(2) Has the burden of proof in criminal trials changed in the last 500 years? Why do you keep harping on criminal intent, proof of which has posed the same legal hurdle for centuries?
(3) Isn't it true that with networks and computers capturing every corporate communication for the last 15-20 years, prosecutions should be a lot easier since the paper trail is now a paper superhighway?
(4) Tell us exactly what evidence you'd need to see in order to prosecute everyone at MF Global between Jon Corzine and the person who authorized the illegal transfer of $1.6 billion in customer funds? What additional evidence--if you can even think of any--do you need to bring Corzine up on a violation of Sarbannes-Oxley?
(5) With respect to robo-signing, forged affidavits are on file in courts all over the country, complete with names, titles, and signatures of the criminals. Why are there not 100,000 people in jail for this? Do you not believe, sir, that fraud on the court is a crime? (And don't even mention Taylor Bean & Whittaker, because we know that Neil Barofsky shamed you into bringing that case, which you did only reluctantly.)
(6) Didn't your law firm create MERS, which is part of the foreclosure crisis? Does this fact account for the DOJ's wholesale failure to prosecute robo-signing crimes?
Lanny Breuer is a clown and a liar, and exposing him as such would take just a modicum of preparation. Watching Breuer waltz through interviews is like watching Chauncey the Gardner rise to the executive office in Being There in real time. It's just surreal. I feel like Quentin Tarantino's character in Desperado when he's in the back room pointing at the monitor feed of the bar as Antonio Banderas is shooting the place up with an arsenal of weapons (at 0:40): "Is that going on right now?"
So on the one hand, I'm grateful for all the great work that Kroft did in exposing the corruption, crime and graft that defines the fascist axis between and Washington, D.C. But on the other hand, I just scratch my head and wonder why he took the inquiry only 99 yards in certain cases.
When your foot is on the enemy's neck, you stomp down hard with all your weight until it's over. That's just what you do.
Don't think it can be done? Wrong. Here's how Iceland did it--for the very same fraud-fueled crisis that's crippled our own economy.