Obama, Using Wal-Mart, Has a Chance to Redeem Himself
Is the Bentonville behemoth the new Enron? Will it be (if you'll pardon the Mexican metaphor) the most-thwacked piñata of the era? A poster child for corporate corruption? A whipping boy for society's revulsion with men in suits carrying out criminal acts?
These aren't rhetorical, pie-in-the-sky questions, in the wake of the brilliant New York Times exposé of Wal-Mart's alleged bribery of Mexican officials. The Enronization of Wal-Mart is a realistic possibility -- if, that is, the Obama administration has the will to make it happen.
The threshold question is simple: Will Attorney General Eric Holder go after Wal-Mart with the only tool that matters in situations like this -- a criminal prosecution? Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that a criminal probe is in the works, and let's hope that this report is true.
President Obama let Wall Street get off scot-free in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, with no criminal prosecutions even at Lehman Brothers, despite the damning findings of the bankruptcy trustee (as CBS News' "60 Minutes" just pointed out on Sunday).
Having dropped the ball on Lehman and the Street's other miscreants, and BP as well in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico fiasco, Obama's Justice Department is getting another bite of the apple. It can make an example of Wal-Mart as part of a newly invigorated get-tough policy on corporate crime.