Rogue Corporations, Corporate Rogues & Ethics Compliance: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 2002
by Breena Coates
, School of Public Administration & Urban Studies
"Managed-mendacity arising from a culture of corporate greed
gave birth to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Organizational
malfeasance arises from deep within the culture of mega
corporations, and consists of the collective issues of complexity and
strategy; and, individual forms of managerial mischief. The impact
of unethical corporate behavior has had wide-spread national and
global ramifications for the economy and prestige of the United
States. This paper looks at survey results that shows that stiffer
penalties for wrongdoing embedded into the legislation are
beginning to have an impact on corporate social responsibility..."
Citigroup Report - Restructuring Citi to serve the Public Interest
by Robert Weissman, ESSENTIAL INFORMATION and Charlie Cray, CENTER FOR CORPORATE POLICY
Citigroup is among the world’s largest financial institutions. As of July 2009, it was also one-third owned by the U.S. government. Without the various subsidies and guarantees — totaling hundreds of billions of dollars — made available to Citigroup, it is very likely the bank would be insolvent. Many believe that — even with the government supports — with an honest accounting, it would be insolvent today. In the case of the failure of Citigroup, it would be taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which has a long record of “resolving” failed banks — albeit not banks of the size and reach of Citi.
Recent Trends and Patterns in the Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
by Philip Urofsky & Danforth Newcomb
, Shearman & Sterling LLP
The past year has seen the announcement of a number of FCPA enforcement actions with unprecedented
fines and penalties. However, while such major cases as Siemens and Halliburton/KBR have obviously
dominated the news, it is hard to say whether they represent a trend toward large-scale high-penalty
FCPA prosecutions although there are likely several cases with similarly substantial fines to come.
Strategic Corporate Initiative: Toward a Global Citizens’ Movement
to Bring Corporations Back Under Control
by Michael Marx, Mari Margil, John Cavanagh, Sarah Anderson, Chuck Collins, Charlie Cray, Marjorie Kelly
, Corporate Ethics International
There are tectonic stresses building beneath the surface of our society that threaten a global earthquake
unlike any we’ve seen in recent history. Global warming is accelerating; fossil fuels are being rapidly
exhausted; critical eco-systems have been severely damaged; and the income gap between rich and poor
is increasing rapidly. The root cause of most of these problems can be found in the excessive power of
global corporations. To solve these problems, we must bring corporations back under our control. This
will be one of the greatest challenges our society faces this century.
Built to Last: Focusing Corporations on Long-Term Performance
Research and Policy Committee of the Committee for Economic Development
Like much of the business community, we are concerned
that “short-termism”—a focus on a company’s
quarterly reported financial results rather than on its
enduring value—is undercutting the economic performance
of U.S.-based corporations and, therefore, of
the U.S. economy overall.
The Myth of the Shareholder Franchise
by Lucian Bebchuk
The power of shareholders to replace the board is a central element in the accepted theory of the modern public corporation with dispersed ownership. This power, however, is largely a myth.
The Case Against Media Consoildation
Donald McGannon Center for Communications Research, Fordham University
Changes in technology do not eliminate the need for media ownership limits. Even with the explosion of the Internet and cable channels, most people still rely on their local newspapers and local television stations as the most important sources of local news and information. Those sources thus have disproportionate impact on public opinion. Access to local, independent news sources is already a precious commodity, and further consolidation would be highly problematic.
The Business Roundtable and Systemic Reform
by Kathy Emery
A dissertation on how the Business
Roundtable met in 1989 to plan a state-by-state campaign to push
standardized testing and reduce community participation in education.
Congress and Excessive CEO Pay
Institute for Policy Studies and Center for Corporate Policy
Excessive compensation for corporate executives first emerged as a national concern in the early 1980s, about the same time that deep cuts in the top marginal federal income tax rate took effect. Until then, high top-bracket federal income tax rates - 91 percent on income over $400,000 until 1964, then 70 percent on income over $200,000 until 1981 - helped keep what might be called a "cultural cap" on CEO pay. Corporate boards could offer million-dollar pay packages, but what would be the point? The bulk of any pay over the top-bracket income floor would simply be taxed away...
GAO Report Finds Anonymous U.S. Companies Pose Risk
by Carl Levin
April 25th, 2006
Today Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., ranking Democrat and Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, released a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finding that states routinely incorporate new non-publicly traded companies without learning the identity of the owners, and that the absence of this company ownership information impedes law enforcement...
Destroy and Profit: Wars, Disasters and Corporations
Focus on the Global South
January 1st, 2006
"The essays in this volume provide a remarkable portrait of the hothouse
brew of corruption, cronyism, unilateralism, neoliberal rhetoric,
protectionism, and good old American nationalism that has marked the
Bush administration’s approach to post-war and post-disaster reconstruction..."
A Matter of Trust: How the Revolving Door Undermines Public Confidence in Government-And What to Do About It
October 1st, 2005
"PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN THE INTEGRITY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is alarmingly low.
While numerous factors contribute to this phenomenon, one of the most potent is the widespread
belief that government has been taken over by powerful special interests. Such a belief is not unfounded.
Special interests—which these days mainly mean large corporations and their trade associations—
spend huge sums on campaign contributions and lobbying..."
Transforming Economic Power - State and Local Approaches to Corporate Reform
by Marjorie Kelly, David Smith, & Nicholas Greenberg
, Business Ethics Magazine
"Potentially powerful new forces are surging today in the territory of economic reform. At
work are relatively little-known yet vigorous new power centers seeking to democratize
control over corporations, and hold them more accountable for the social impacts of their
behaviors. Among the emerging power centers are state and local pension funds, trustees
of labor’s capital, state treasurers, and state and local governments. They are advancing
promising new movements for a democratically controlled economy, using tools such as
living wage laws, corporate subsidy reform, purchasing preference laws, shareholder
activism, and corporate charter reform..."
Community Redress and Multinational Enterprises
by Alice Palmer
, Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development
November 1st, 2003
"Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth have commissioned this paper to examine the obstacles
and options for international approaches to community redress for the harmful effects of
multinationals’ activities on people and the environment. Encouraged by the recent adoption by
UN experts of human rights norms for business, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth are also
looking beyond the social and environmental obligations that bind business to consider what can
be done to guarantee communities redress when harm is done. Compared with small and
medium-size enterprises, multinationals have the greatest capacity to cause harm to people and
the environment on a global scale and to use political, financial and legal leverage to avoid being
brought to account..."
Defend the Alien Tort Claims Act
Human Rights Watch
July 29th, 2003
"The Alien Tort Claims Act is one of the only tools Americans have to make human rights abusers pay for their actions. Now the U.S. Justice Department is trying to undermine this important law. Don’t let it happen!
The Alien Tort Claims Act allows foreign victims of serious human rights abuse abroad to sue the perpetrators in U.S. courts. No other country has a law quite like it. The accused perpetrator must be in the U.S. to be served court papers, but otherwise neither the victim nor the perpetrator need to reside in the United States..."
Background on the Alien Tort Claims Act
Human Rights Watch
July 29th, 2003
"Passed in 1789, the ATCA grants jurisdiction to U.S. federal courts to hear complaints by foreign nationals for torts in violation of the “law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”
Beginning in 1981, in the landmark Filartiga decision, U.S. courts have recognized that a limited number of international crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, “disappearances,” extrajudicial executions, forced labor and prolonged arbitrary detention, violate the "law of nations” and that claims for such abuses therefore can be brought under the ATCA..."
Alien Tort Claims Case Studies
Human Rights Watch
July 29th, 2003
" In 1992, the American corporation Unocal entered into a joint venture with Burma’s military dictatorship (then called the SLORC, or State Law and Order Restoration Council) and a French corporation to construct and operate an oil pipeline running across the interior of the country to Thailand. According to Unocal, the project “brought significant benefits in health care, education and economic opportunity to more than 45,000 people” living in the path of the pipeline..."
Making Links: A Peoples' Guide to the World Trade Organization and the Free Trade Area of the Americas
by Maude Barlow & Tony Clarke
, The Council of Canadians
January 1st, 2003
"From September 10-14, 2003, the 5th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will take
place in Cancun, Mexico. There, the 146 member countries of the WTO will intensify negotiations to complete the Doha
Development Agenda, which was launched at the 4th Ministerial meeting of the WTO in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.
Much rides on the success or failure of this meeting. The stakes are huge. Powerful governments and their
business communities are seeking a major liberalization of services, agriculture and intellectual property
rights as well as bold new initiatives on investment, competition and government procurement..."
Transnational Corporate Beneficiaries of World Bank Group Fossil Fuel Project 1992-August 2002
by Jim Vallette
, Sustainable Energy and Economy Network a Project of the Institute for Policy Studies
September 1st, 2002
"SEEN’s ongoing study of World Bank Group financing for fossil fuels finds that the big
winners of this globalization game are some of the largest transnational corporations in
the world. Of the world’s ten largest corporations , five are among the WBG’s top 15
private welfare recipients. Shell, the world’s eighth biggest corporation, benefited from
over $1.93 billion in World Bank projects since 1992, and ranks third among all firms.
BP-Amoco and Exxon Mobil , the world’s second and fourth largest corporations,
benefited from around $900 million in WBG financing a piece..."
Market Failure: The Case for Mandatory Social and Environmental Reporting
by Deborah Doane
, New Economics Foundation
March 1st, 2002
"So, the voluntary approach to social and environmental is working, is it? In that case, where are all the social reports?
Since the Prime Minister called for the top FTSE350 to report on their environmental impacts by December 2001, few have actually responded to the challenge. By late last year, less than one third of the FTSE 350 produced a substantive environmental report, and only a scant 24 reported that they would endeavour to do so in the near future.i The results of social reporting are even more worrisome..."
The Santa Clara Blues: Corporate Personhood versus Democracy
by William Meyers
, Point Arena Resolution on Corporate Personhood
November 13th, 2001
"Corporate personhood is a legal fiction. The choice of the word
“person” arises from the way the 14th Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution was worded and from earlier legal usage of the word
person. A corporation is an artificial entity, created by the granting of
a charter by a government that grants such charters. Corporation in
this essay will be confined to businesses run for profit that have been
granted corporate charters by the states of the United States..."
Corporate Accountability Movement: Lessons and Opportunities
World Wildlife Fund
January 1st, 1998
"There is a rich quarter-century history of attempts, many
of them international in scope, to make corporations more
accountable to communities, workers, and environmental
concerns. Yet, unlike the environmental movement or the civil
rights movement, there is no self-conscious "corporate
accountability movement." Instead, there are hundreds of
scattered corporate campaigns, many of which have been highly
sophisticated, successful, and have crossed borders and
movements. These efforts have made major inroads into the
tobacco industry, the arms industry, and the apparel and
footwear industries, and have changed the way many
corporations approach the environment and treat their workers..."