DOJ Should Cancel New ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card Policy for Corporate Crime in Mergers

October 4, 2023 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — In anticipation of a new policy change from the Justice Department, previewed earlier today by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, which would allow firms who commit crimes to get amnesty as long as they are acquired and then disclose wrongdoing within six months of the merger, the American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement.

“This new policy makes no sense and should be immediately canceled,” said Matt Stoller, Director of Research at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Allowing a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card for corporate crime when firms merge is a strong incentive for more consolidation and cuts against the Biden administration’s 2021 executive order encouraging an ‘all of government’ approach to promoting competition.”

The new policy is especially concerning given the Biden administration has a historically feeble effort against corporate crime, with numbers that are far worse than those of the Trump administration. As the Corporate Crime Reporter noted in July, ‘“Only 90 corporate crime cases were brought in 2021 under the Biden Department of Justice, less than half of the average annual number of corporate crime prosecutions brought in the previous 25 years (181).’ This is simply unacceptable. It is time for Attorney General Merrick Garland to review the Department of Justice’s historically poor approach of corporate wrongdoing, and for Congressional oversight in this matter. Someone must be held accountable for the flaccid approach to justice.”

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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.