February 20, 2009

The Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General
Department of Justice
Robert F. Kennedy Building
Tenth Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We write to request a meeting with you to discuss an array of suggestions to strengthen the Department’s ongoing efforts to crack down on corporate crime.

We want to discuss the initiatives described below, which we believe would be important steps the Department could take toward countering the serious incidence of corporate crime:

1. Creating an annual report on corporate crime similar to the annual Uniform Crime Report on street crime, and developing a research capability long missing from the Department. (See our letter of February 6, 2009, attached);

2. Proposing legislation (the so-called “Freedom From Harm Act”) that would strengthen consumer protection by creating a criminal sanction for corporations that choose to knowingly distribute life-threatening products;

3. Addressing inconsistencies in the prior administration's application of the Federal Acquisition Regulation's suspension and debarment standards by establishing clear standards for suspension and debarment for serious or repeat cases of corporations breaking the law;

4. Eliminating ambiguities in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act have allowed defendants to claim there is no prohibition on payments intended to reduce customs duties or tax obligations (see U.S. vs. David Kay and Douglas Murphy, 200 F. Supp. 2d 681 (S.D. Tex. 2002)). We would like to offer a way to easily fix this gap in the law; and

5. Empowering citizens to expose and challenge corporate crime. A Citizens Bounty Act would give citizens the legal standing to force corporations to comply with the law when government fails to do its job. One possible approach might be to apply the qui tam (whistleblower) provisions of The False Claims Act more broadly to pollution, workplace safety, and other areas of the law. As you know, a series of opinions, including the 1992 Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife decision, have severely restricted the ability of concerned citizens to bring suit. With your support, Congress could rectify this failure.

These are some of the specific ideas, along with a broader discussion of corporate crime priorities, that we wish to deliberate, at your early convenience. Charles Cray will call your office in the coming week to see if a meeting can be scheduled.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader
PO Box 19312
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 387-8030

John Richard
Essential Information

Charlie Cray
Center for Corporate Policy