More potential bad news for Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. as Thursday’s Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing subpoenas relating to alleged foreign bribery and alleged hacking of voicemail of Sept. 11 victims. This is in addition to a separate FBI probe into the alleged hacking of voicemail of Sept. 11 victims and a possible FCPA-related (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) investigation by the SEC related to allegations of bribing police in Great Britain. There are also a substantial number of civil suits springing up related to the activities of News Corp.’s now shuttered News of the World operation. While Murdoch and News Corp. have attempted to contain the damage done by the News of the World U.K. phone hacking scandal, it seems like their efforts are failing as the investigation into their operations expands across the Atlantic. The real question lies with A.G. Eric Holder’s Department of Justice willingness to act.
The subpoenas being prepared would require senior Justice Department approval to be executed and so far approval is still pending. Given the Department of Justice under Holder has a weak record for prosecuting corporate criminals (see Wall Street going unpunished for their role in the Credit Default Swap scandal) and prosecution of those with monied political connections (see the refusal to investigate and prosecute members of the Bush Administration for war crimes) is approval of these subpoenas going to happen under Eric Holder’s watch? Murdoch and his corporate interests are big campaign contributors and FoxNews is widely considered little more than the propaganda wing of the GOP. Are such investigations merely lip service to public outrage or is the Department of Justice going to get off the bench and play ball this time? If the Department of Justice hedges and decides to once again ride the pine on investigation and prosecution of corporate criminals, it will hinder if not kill both the FBI and SEC investigations. Is sitting out on this case even a viable political option for Holder and the Obama Administration at this point given their poor track record to date on upholding justice over political expediency? What do you think?
Source: The Wall Street Journal
~ Submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger