ZDA so tradicionalno mednarodno najbolj glasne pri obsojanju in preganjanju korupcije – v tujini. Ameriška vlada, njene uradne organizacije z mednarodno aktivnostjo, kot so USAID, ter največji think tanki, ki propagirajo svobodo in prosti trg in ki jih prek različnih fundacij obilno financirajo najbogatejše ameriške družinske dinastije, vsemu “manj razvitemu svetu” pridigajo o zlu korupcije ter financirajo kampanje za zmanjševanje korupcije. Perverzija pa je seveda v tem, da jih moti samo korupcija v tujini. Jasno, ker bi utegnila škoditi interesom ameriškega kapitala v tujini. Korupcija doma jih ne moti. Ne moti jih, da imajo lobisti v ZDA daleč največji vpliv na vladne ekonomske politike. Ne moti jih, da so ZDA ujete v “state capture“, kjer največja podjetja oziroma lobiji ugrabijo državne inštitucije in kreirajo vladne politike. Ne moti jih kriminal belih ovratnikov v enormnem obsegu in v povezavi z mižanjem organov pregona.
Mora biti izvoljen Donald Trump, pri komer je prav vse “mutno”, če ne že na robu kriminala ali onstran njega, da lahko pride posebni preiskovalec Robert Mueller in začne razkrivati delček kriminala belih ovratnikov, v povezavi s politiko.
Oh, the audacity of dopes. The crimes of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are notable not just for how blatant they were but also for their lack of sophistication. The two men did little to hide their lying to banks and the Internal Revenue Service. One can almost sympathize with them: If it wasn’t for their decision to attach themselves to the most unlikely president in modern history, there’s every reason to think they might be still working their frauds today.
But how anomalous are Mssrs. Manafort and Cohen? Are there legions of K Street big shots working for foreign despots and parking their riches in Cypriot bank accounts to avoid the IRS? Are many political campaigns walking felonies waiting to be exposed? What about the world of luxury residential building in which Cohen plied his trade with the Trump Organization?
The answer is more disturbing than the questions: We don’t know. We don’t know because the cops aren’t on the beat. Resources have been stripped from white-collar enforcement. The FBI shifted agents to work on international terror in the wake of 9/11. White-collar cases made up about one-tenth of the Justice Department’s cases in recent years, compared with one-fifth in the early 1990s. The IRS’ criminal enforcement capabilities have been decimated by years of budget cuts and attrition. The Federal Election Commission is a toothless organization that is widely flouted.
No wonder Cohen and Manafort were so brazen. They must have felt they had impunity.
Beginning with a charge to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, special counsel Robert Mueller has fallen upon a rash of other crimes. In doing so, he has exposed how widespread and serious our white-collar fraud problem really is, and how lax enforcement has been for years.
At least he is also showing a way out of the problem. He and his team are demonstrating that the proper attention, resources, technique and experience can go a long way to rectify the white-collar prosecution crisis.