Either the SEC is a thuggish extortion racket, shaking down private corporations for hundreds of millions of dollars with baseless allegations, or some of America’s biggest companies have evolved into the world’s most sophisticated crime syndicates. Take your pick. But since Enron, just about every major bank, every major accounting firm and far too many publicly traded companies have settled allegations of massive fraud without admitting nor denying guilt. They pay millions for the privilege of stealing billions, while the regulators take bows, arguing that civil fines represent an efficient form of justice. Proving white-collar crime is indeed a tough endeavor, as the grossly underfunded SEC and overworked Justice Department argue. But not proving it is what brought America to where it is today: A nation led by charlatans who can easily dodge responsibility.
Read more: A Judge Who Just Wants to Know the Truth — WSJ.com