This week, we sit down with journalist Jesse Eisinger, author of The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives. He was previously at the Wall Street Journal, TheStreet.com and Conde Nast Portfolio, and is currently at Pro Publica, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on various CDOs.
Like many of us, he was perplexed by the lack of prosecution following the financial crisis. The obvious paper trail at various banks and brokers should have made winning prosecutions not terribly difficult. The issue of why white collar criminals are treated with such respect, and afford rights not available to blue collar criminals.
Eisinger traces the collapse of Enron for accounting fraud, and its auditor’s Arthur Andersen’s corporate death penalty, as the start of the unraveling of the Justice Department’s ability to actually win in court. A series of astounding events took place as the credit crisis was building; by the time the economy melted down, the prosecutorial arm of the government had effectively been neutered not accidentally, but by design.
All of the books he references can be found here.
You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on iTunes, Soundcloud, Overcast, and Bloomberg. Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunes, Soundcloud, Overcast and Bloomberg.
Jesse Eisinger’s Book
Jesse Eisinger’s Favorite Books
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart
Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough
A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan
Dispatches by Michael Herr
1984 by George Orwell
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Prejudices: The Complete Series by H. L. Mencken
Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays by Joan Didion
The White Album: Essays by Joan Didion