Do DPAs and NPAs Promote Balanced Justice?

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1 Response

  1. Matthew Lynch says:

    It’s a fact of life that the discretionary authority to utilize DPAs and NPAs gives the Justice Department a major tool in dealing with questionable corporate practices. Very large entities are much more willing to pay civil fines and are acquiescent to admit to less than ethical behavior when it doesn’t involve potential jail time. The problem with DPAs and NPAs is that it does little to curtail an overall climate of bad behavior at some of the largest of corporations as they look at the civil penalties as a cost of doing business – As long as penalties are manageable and do not disrupt business too much. This is particularly true when dealing with large Medicare/Medicaid providers.

    As far as corporate monitorships are concerned they look and sound good, but the reality is they have been lacking in effectiveness. With their monitoring focused primarily on the areas of initial interest to Justice, and with questionable expertise on the part of the monitoring entity, companies are able to deflect attention from other areas. The government quickly learned after the TARP bailouts it does not want to be in the business of either owning or partnering with corporate America.

    As long as we allow corporations to get so big that their failure would have “collateral consequences” to the corporation and our economy (and I am certainly not arguing that we should limit a company’s growth) then it will remain imperative that Justice have a variety of tools to choose from in dealing with them. The goal needs to be finding a process and enforcement strategy that keeps the scales of Justice in balance regardless of the tool of choice.