"The Bush adminstration has a well-known aversion to regulating big business. As it turns out, it is also reluctant to prosecute corporations that break the law. Federal prosecutors have been regularly offering settlements to companies for wrongdoing that, in previous administrations, would likely have led to criminal charges. It is another disturbing element of how this adminstration has taken the justice out of the Justice Department. ... If corporations believe they can negotiate their way out of a prosecution, the deterrent effect of the criminal law will inevitably be weakened. The deals also leave a clear impression that an administration that prides itself on being pro-law-and-order--and on appointing federal judges who are tough on ordinary criminals--is tilting the justice system in favor of the wealthy and powerful. There also are worrying signs that some prosecutors may be using these agreements for political patronage", Editorial at http://www.nytimes.com/, 10 April 2008.
No, the signal was intended. "A man is presumed to intend the natural and probable consequences of his acts", sayeth the Supremes. Even (In)Justice Department employees! "Allowing the government"? Are corporations sovereigns with armies to protect them from Uncle Sam? What's going on here? Isn't this nice? The Bush administration is more concerned about not destroying corporations than with incarcerating peons for decades over minor drug offenses. Artificial entities are more important than people to Bush & Co. "Fundamental misapprehension"? Please McNulty, stop insulting everyone's intelligence. That's exactly what they are. If they were anything else, the corporations in question would not agree to them! I agree with Intriago, $65 million is peanuts to Amex. Look at what's going on with BP and its proposed $50 million fine. Similarly, peanuts. Amen, EL. The current DOJ is so bad, you can almost want to see Hillary as our next President.
The Bush DOJ goes easy on "Extraordinary" as opposed to "ordinary" criminals. Makes sense.