Legal Outlet

The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives

From Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jesse Eisinger, “a fast moving, fly-on-the-wall, disheartening look at the deterioration of the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission…It is a book of superheroes” (San Franscisco Review of Books).Why were no bankers put in prison after the financial crisis of 2008? Why do CEOs seem to commit wrongdoing with

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From Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jesse Eisinger, “a fast moving, fly-on-the-wall, disheartening look at the deterioration of the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission…It is a book of superheroes” (San Franscisco Review of Books).

Why were no bankers put in prison after the financial crisis of 2008? Why do CEOs seem to commit wrongdoing with impunity? The problem goes beyond banks deemed “Too Big to Fail” to almost every large corporation in America—to pharmaceutical companies and auto manufacturers and beyond. The Chickenshit Club—an inside reference to prosecutors too scared of failure and too daunted by legal impediments to do their jobs—explains why in “an absorbing financial history, a monumental work of journalism…a first-rate study of the federal bureaucracy” (Bloomberg Businessweek).

Jesse Eisigner begins the story in the 1970s, when the government pioneered the notion that top corporate executives, not just seedy crooks, could commit heinous crimes and go to prison. He brings us to trading desks on Wall Street, to corporate boardrooms and the offices of prosecutors and FBI agents. These revealing looks provide context for the evolution of the Justice Department’s approach to pursuing corporate criminals through the early 2000s and into the Justice Department’s approach to pursuing corporate criminals through the early 2000s and into the Justice Department of today, including the prosecutorial fiascos, corporate lobbying, trial losses, and culture shifts that have stripped the government of the will and ability to prosecute top corporate executives.

“Brave and elegant….a fearless reporter…Eisinger’s important and profound book takes no prisoners (The Washington Post). Exposing one of the most important scandals of our time, The Chickenshit Club provides a clear, detailed explanation as to how our Justice Department has come to avoid, bungle, and mismanage the fight to bring these alleged criminals to justice. “This book is a wakeup call…a chilling read, and a needed one” (NPR.org).

Comments

David Wineberg says:

The dirt under the carpet Any book that can definitively answer the question of why no executives have gone to jail for the Financial Crisis deserves our attention. And in this case a Pulitzer Prize. The Chickens–t Club is a fast moving, fly on the wall, disheartening look at the deterioration of the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, written sympathetically, thoroughly, but mostly – engagingly. It is a book of superheroes. 

Graham H. Seibert says:

A very knowledgeable book by a veteran Wall Street reporter. Enforcement failures in the aftermath of Enron James Comey gave Eisinger the title for his book when he took over as prosecutor for the Southern District of New York under a newly elected George W. Bush. It was composed of prosecutors who were too timid to take a case to court, especially one against individuals. 

HistoryMajor says:

All the confusing parts of the 2008 meltdown make sense now Like a lot of people, I found the 2008 meltdown pretty hard to understand. I knew that some rich and powerful people had done some controversial things, and I knew that the government had given a lot of money to banks and businesses that were “too big to fail”, and I knew mortgages were involved somehow. But the whole thing was so complicated, and I don’t have 5 hours a day to study financial terminology, so I just shrugged and moved on with my life (which, coincidentally, seemed much…

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