Corporate wrongdoing is a huge concern of the country, and has been for many years.
Corporate wrongdoing, and how best to deter it and how victims should be compensated, is very much in the province of legislative bodies and lawmakers.
Lawmakers are not the only actors in this domain. Other actors include judges, state attorneys general, regulators, prosecutors, plaintiffs' lawyers, ethics and compliance officers, and defense attorneys. Many academics study the subject as well.
For ten years, I have done extensive and assiduous work about corporate wrongdoing and how best to deter it and how victims should be compensated.
I have identified the matter as a significant instance in which there is violation of my general principles I set out in My American Lawmaker's Creed.
I say in that entry, "Lawmakers are frequently confronted with a matter in which the people have general interests on opposite sides at the same time, and in which a very small group of persons have a special, one sided interest." In these situations, I say that lawmakers should make their decisions virtually exclusively on the basis of balancing the two generalized societal interests that are on the opposite side, and should disregard the special, one sided interest of a small group.
I give as an example that of wrongdoing, including deterring it and compensating victims, and the special one sided interest plaintiffs' lawyers have. I say:
On one side, there is a general interest in people receiving compensation when they are injured by wrongdoing of others and also in deterrence of wrongdoing, and, on the other side, all liabilities, judgments and settlements come out of the pockets of someone in society, and the same need to be closely looked at to evaluate whether anything is going on that is skewed or insufficiently justified to support the taking of moneys from one set of pockets and putting them in another set of pockets. The plaintiffs' lawyers have a one sided special interest in maximizing the quantum of liabilities, judgments and settlements, which are a source of fees for the plaintiffs' lawyers. Applying what I have said above, I consider that lawmakers who set rules about liabilities, and about the determinations of the same, should do so virtually exclusively on the basis of balancing the two generalized societal interests that are on the opposite side and should disregard the special, one sided interest of the plaintiffs' lawyers.
The work I have done regarding plaintiffs' lawyers has been very instructive to me about the immense difficulties in having legislative bodies and lawmakers undertake their job in the manner I consider proper, to wit, balancing the general societal interests on both sides and disregarding the special, one sided interest of plaintiffs' lawyers. It has been illustrative of the potency of one sided special interests of a small group seeking very huge rewards (on a per capita basis), and the weakness of the force to vindicate the more important general interests, which are small (on a per capita) basis. Further that potency of the one sided special interest is unopposed or only weakly opposed by numerous actors besides lawmakers who have a presence. These other actors include judges, state attorneys general, regulators, prosecutors, ethics and compliance officers, defense attorneys, and even academics.Given the huge concern that corporate wrongdoing is for the country, and the important role which lawmakers play in determining how to deter it and how to compensate victims, I think this topic should be included in candidate forums and other venues of discussion leading up to June 3rd.