Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

"Under President Donald Trump—the supposedly 'tough on crime' president—corporate prosecutions have plummeted to the lowest level in more than 20 years."

"Under President Donald Trump—the supposedly 'tough on crime' president—corporate prosecutions have plummeted to the lowest level in more than 20 years." (Photo: PixaBay/cc)

"Turns Out 'Tough on Crime' Is Only for the Poor": Report Details Trump DOJ's Corporate-Friendly Record

An analysis by Public Citizen shows prosecutions of corporations has plummeted to lowest level in decades.

Eoin Higgins

A new report out Friday shows that President Donald Trump's Department of Justice is after corporations at a historically low level and suggests that's making companies increasingly confident about breaking the law.

Soft on Corporate Crime, a new report from Public Citizen, exposes the apparent disinterest with which the DOJ has treated corporate crime.

"Turns out 'tough on crime' is only for the poor," study lead author Rick Claypool said on Twitter. 

"Under President Donald Trump—the supposedly 'tough on crime' president—corporate prosecutions have plummeted to the lowest level in more than 20 years," Public Citizen wrote in a statement. "Corporate lenience agreements—deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) and nonprosecution agreements (NPAs)—however, are on the rise again."

Those deals, the report found, allow corporations to avoid trial:

The deals prosecutors make to protect corporations from prosecution are called deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) and non-prosecution agreements (NPAs). Prosecutors and corporate defense attorneys negotiate these deals behind closed doors to keep corporations out of the criminal justice system.

"Too many criminals are punished too lightly—and go on to commit more crime," tweeted ProPublica's Jesse Eisinger. "I'm talking, of course, of corporate crime."

The bigger the company, the better its chances to avoid consequences, according to the report:

Out of the 38 repeat offender corporations identified, 36 are major corporations that are on or have appeared on the Forbes Global 2000 list of the world's largest publicly traded corporations. Three of the corporations have held the top slot as the largest corporation in the world—JPMorgan Chase (2011 and 2010), General Electric (2009), and HSBC (2008).

"The 'tough on crime' platform was always a farce," Public Citizen tweeted Thursday. "Trump criminalizes poverty and immunizes wealth."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·


Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Now We're Talking!' Says AOC as Biden Backs Filibuster Carveout for Abortion Rights

"Time for people to see a real, forceful push for it," said the New York Democrat. "Use the bully pulpit. We need more."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo