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Examples of Corporate Abuse
Formerly called American Association of Retired Persons. A membership and advocacy organization, yet acts as major merhandizer of insurance and other products to the elderly. Organized as a nonpartisan nonprofit membrship organization. Pays taxes? "Business Week magazine says that in the past questions have arisen about whether AARP's commercial interests may conflict with those of its membership, and characterizes many of the funds and insurance policies that AARP markets as providing considerably less benefit than seniors could get on their own"
Includes Philip Morris. "According to the Center for Public Integrity, Altria spent around $101 million on lobbying the United States government between 1998 and 2004, making it the second most active organization in the nation." Accused of marketing to children. See the website Philip Morris Can't Hide.
Monopolizes US blood banks. "In March 2006, investigations of allegations of fraud and theft by volunteers and contractors within the American Red Cross Katrina operations were launched by the Louisiana Attorney-General and the FBI"
Archer Daniels Midland
"At least 43 percent of ADM's annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM's corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30." "In 1996, ADM was the subject of a lysine price fixing investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Senior ADM executives were indicted on criminal charges for engaging in price-fixing within the international lysine market." See the article "Archer Daniels Midland: The Exxon of corn? (ADM is doing for soil what Exxon has done to air)" by Tom Philpott.
Arthur Anderson LLP
Went down with Enron. See the Frontline PBS video The Battle Over Consulting. See the book "Final Accounting: Ambition, Greed and the Fall of Arthur Andersen" (2003) by Barbara Ley Toffler. Click herefor information on the logo.
Bank of America
Largest commercial bank in the US in terms of deposits and the largest company of its kind in the world. Issued first credit cards.
Failed in 2008.
Formerly called Blackwater USA. Arrogance. Murders in Iraq. See the book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill.
Blue Ridge Paper Products
In 1999, Canton mill employees, led by PACE Local 507, completed a buyout deal with Champion (now merged with International Paper) to form Blue Ridge Paper Products. The paper mill in Canton, NC, pollutes the Pigeon River in North Carolina and downstream in Tennessee. See the book Troubled Waters: Champion International and the Pigeon River Controversy by Richard A. Bartlett (UT Press). Click here for some recent history.
Former British Petroleum. Found guilty of refinery safety violations. Merged in 1998 with the American Oil Company (Amoco), the former Standard Oil Company of Indiana.
Accounting scandal in 2002. "Anticompetitive acts to obstruct the entry of low-price generic competition." Makes eflornithine to remove facial hair in Europe and North America but agrees to make only a limited amount of the same drug for the treatment of sleeping sickness in Africa.
Second largest privately owned company in the US. See Cargill Meat Solutons. One meat packing subsidary is Excel Corporation.
Channel One News
Created by Whittle Communications in Knoxville, TN. Formerly called Channel One. Brings news and commercials into school classrooms. See the film Captive Audience: Advertising Invades the Classroom." from the Media Education Foundation (MEF). See the book Empire Undone: The Wild Rise and Hard Fall of Chris Whittle by Vance H. Trimble.
Former Standard Oil Company of California. Merged with Gulf Oil in 1984, Texaco in 2001, and Unocal (qv) in 2005. Human rights abuse in Nigeria. Current ad campaign "Join Us."
Many product recalls.
"Nine months after buying [a $980,000 vacation home] with [ConocoPhillips lobbyist Don R.] Duncan and [deputy interior secretary J. Steven] Griles, and just before stepping down, [assistant attorney general Sue Ellen] Wooldridge approved consent decrees giving ConocoPhillips three more years to pay millions of dollars in fines for a Superfund toxic waste cleanup and install pollution controls (which are estimated to cost US$525 million) at nine of its refineries."
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)
"Numerous individuals, organizations and former prisoners and immigration detainees have alleged mistreatment and inhumane conditions in CCA facilities. There have been rapes, beatings, and deaths at CCA facilities." See the paper Corrections Corporation of America: A Critical Look at its First Twenty Years by Philip Mattera & Mafruza Kahn.
Countrywide Financial Corp.
Subprime mortgage crisis.
According to Wikipedia, "Duke Power Company had generated more than 100% in profits in a single year [in the 1970's]. Meanwhile, the striking miners [in Harlan County, KY], many of whom are living in squalid conditions without even the basics like hot and cold running water, only received about 4% of the profits that Duke made." See the film "Harlan County, USA" by Barbara Kopple (1976).
Financial collapse in late 2001. "As was later discovered, many of Enron's recorded assets and profits were inflated, or even wholly fraudulent and nonexistent. Debts and losses were put into entities formed 'offshore' that were not included in the company's financial statements, and other sophisticated and arcane financial transactions between Enron and related companies were used to take unprofitable entities off the company's books." See the book & film “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" by Bethany McLean & Peter Elkind.
Result of merger between Exxon and Mobil. (Exxon was the former Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, and Mobil was the former Standard Oil Company of New York.) Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska on March 24, 1989. Huge profits in 2007. Taking unfair advantage of rising oil prices? Resists evidence of climate change. See the book "Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound" by John Keeble (1999). See the film “Out of Balance: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change" by Tom Jackson (2007).
"Three former top Fannie Mae execs agree to pay $31.4M settlement Civil suit accused them of manipulating earnings over six years." Associated Press, April 19, 2008.
Owns $834 million in PetroChina and an estimated $200 million in Sinopec on the Hong King Stock Exchange. These are "the two Chinese oil companies which are fueling the genocide in Darfur."
See the film “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" by Robert Greenwald.
According to Wikipedia, "GE has a history of large-scale air and water pollution. The corporation is currently listed as the fourth-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with more than 4.4 million pounds per year of toxic chemicals released into the air." See Hudson River pollution.
See the film “An Unreasonable Man: A Biography About Ralph Nader." See the film “Roger & Me" (1989) by Michael Moore. See the film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" (2006) by Chris Paine.
"GlaxoSmithKline provides research funding to doctors who write favorable opinions of depression drugs for children, despite evidence from clinical trials that the medication can cause anger and even suicide."
"Global Crossing's rapid rise and fall [from 1997 to 2002] attracted tremendous attention, and it was quickly revealed that the company, particularly its executives, lavishly spent money on 'themselves and their digs.'"
Iraq. Also see Halliburton's former subsidiary KBR, Inc. which had changed its name from Kellogg Brown & Root.
See the film "American Dream" by Barbara Kopple (1990) about the Hormel Foods strike in Austin, Minnesota in 1985-86.
Unionization abuse in Morristown, TN. See the film Morristown: In the Air and Sun. See New York Times article from Sept. 6, 2005. NB: Apparently there is no Wikipedia article for Koch Foods.
Largest fast-food company by far. Operates in 120 countries. Accused of making fatty food so abundant and appealing that the entire society is becoming more obese and unhealthy. Its advertisements and promotions are particularly attractive to children. See the book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser (2001) and the film Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock (2004).
See the WorldCom scandle. See the SEC report Report of Investigation by the Special Investigative Committee of the Board of Directors of WorldCom, Inc. (2003). See the book "Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower" by Cynthia Cooper (2008). Click here for an explanation of the mergers.
"In May 2002, a settlement was reached with then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer of the State of New York, imposing a $100 million fine on Merrill Lynch, as well as an agreement [severng] all links between analysts' pay and investment banking revenue. The settlement was related to wrongdoings by equity analyst Henry Blodget. In December 2002 the company was fined an additional $100 million."
Software imperialism. Price monopoly. Pirated Apple, Netscape, and other companies. Sued by US attorneys general and in Europe. See the film Pirates of Silicon Valley by Martyn Burke (1999).
Non-profit membership organizaion. Pays no taxes. So-called members are actually magazine subscribers and have absolutely no rights of membership. Slick merchandising divisions (books, magazines, maps, gifts, television, etc.) complete with private tax-paying businesses. So dominates US geography that smaller and less professional entities are overwhelmed.
Criticized for the manner in which baby formula has been marketed in developing countries. Widespread Nestlé boycott, starting in 1977. In December 2007 Nestlé was found guilty of colluding with other milk producers to fix prices in Greece
Federal District Judge John Curtin ruled that Hooker/Occidental had been negligent, but not reckless, in its handling of the waste and sale of the land to the Niagara Falls School Board. Curtin's decision also contains a detailed history of events leading up to the Love Canal disaster. Occidental Petroleum was sued by the EPA and in 1995 agreed to pay $129 million in restitution. See article on Love Canal. See Dossier: The Secret Life of Armand Hammer by Edward Jay Epstein (1996).
Pacific Gas &
Allegedly contaminated drinking water with hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium (VI), in the southern California town of Hinkley. The case was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit in U.S. history. See the film “Erin Brockovich."
Largest chicken producer in the US. In May 2004, Pilgrim's Pride experienced an outbreak of avian influenza in Hopkins County in northeast Texas. 24,000 breeder hens were destroyed to contain the outbreak. On July 20, 2004, PETA released a video showing Pilgrim's Pride employees and a member of PETA kicking, jumping, throwing, and spitting on live chickens.
Largest poultry processor in the world. Unionization abuse in North Carolina. See Justice at Springfield
Scandal in April 2008 over failure to inspect airplanes.
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
Largest public power company. Agency of federal government. Board appointed by President with advice and consent of the Senate. Subject to many legal constraints (and privileges). Created by Congress in 1933 but has filed SEC reports only since 2006. Pays no taxes (only some "payments in lieu of taxes"). One of the largest US operators of old, dirty coal-burning power houses. Found guilty in 2007 of violating the Clean Air Act. Being sued by State of North Carolna. Violates separation between military and civilian nuclear programs by producing tritium at Watts Bar nuclear plant. Self regulating, so ale to begins nuclear projects without any public hearing. Makes no accounting of public contributions for green power. NB: Wikipedia article is out-of-date. See the book TVA and the Tellico Dam, 1936-1979: A bureaucratic crisis in post-industrial America by William Bruce Wheeler & Michael J. McDonald.
Headquarters in Arkansas? Humane chicken production? Fair labor practices? Pollution in Arkansas? Political connections? Purchased IBP, Inc. one of the nation's biggest meat packers. So operates hugh feed lots in Kansas and elsewhere.
Headquartered in London and Rotterdam. "Criticised for causing environmental pollution by Greenpeace, for testing products on animals by PETA, for making use of child labor, and for buying palm oil from suppliers who are destroying Indonesia's rainforests."
Former Union Oil Company. Sold to Chevron. Forced labor on pipeline project in Burma. Katie Redford, EarthRights International. Case settled in 2004 for $30 million.
Corps of Engineers
Favors dams and channeling to wetlands. Allowed deterioration of coastal wetlands. Constructed canal bringing tidal surge to New Orleans. Its leevees failed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Monopolistic labor practices. Inadequate employee health care. Ruthless incursion into local communities. Devastation of small businesses. Largely responsible for US dependency on Chinese products and loss of US manufacturing. See the film “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" by Robert Greenwald. See the book Sam Walton: The Inside Story of American's Richest Man by Vance H. Trimble. See the website WAKEUP WALMART.com: America's Campaign to Change Wal-Mart.
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