The American Prospect, Februar 24, 2020: Useless Wells Fargo Settlement Shows the Rule of Law Ended Long Ago
In the Trump era, we are periodically given to despair over the rupture of the rule of law in America. That flared up again last week with the comical pardons of every rogue who managed to get a family member on Fox News, as well as the 11th-hour change to the Justice Department’s recommended sentence for convicted felon Roger Stone, who’s probably days away from his own pardon. The prosecutors who resigned from the Stone case in disgust and associated legal experts have lamented the perversion of the justice system evident at the highest levels.
But those of us with the misfortune of paying attention to white-collar crime for longer than just the past couple years would pinpoint another moment that confirmed the end of accountability in this country. We’d highlight the aftermath of the financial crisis, and the failure to prosecute any high-ranking figure at the nation’s major banks for the mountain of fraud that led to the economic near-collapse. That was when a different set of rules was made clear for those with power and privilege. That was when we could speak of America as a plutocracy, with a zone of immunity around a lucky few and a punitive hand smacking down upon the rest.