The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives

Author: Jesse Eisinger
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by decebalus1   2019-12-30
This book has lots of proof.
by decebalus1   2019-09-16
It seems the Chickenshit club[0] has expanded to Europe.


by brianpgordon   2019-05-04
This is a worthwhile book that might help clear up some of your bewilderment at why corporate crime cases so often turn out so unsatisfactorily.

My personal TL;DR from a couple of years ago if you don't have the time to read the book:

- It's very hard for prosecutors to secure a criminal conviction even in the most blatant cases of wrongdoing.

- Prosecutors care too much about their win rate to risk trials.

- Prosecutors have fallen into a trap where they're so dependent on the policy of offering generous non-prosecution or deferred-prosecution agreements if the company comes forward and volunteers evidence, they've become incapable of actually executing on a complex criminal investigation anymore.

- There's intense political pressure to not punish shareholders for management's misdeeds.

by misiti3780   2018-11-10

I have really enjoyed your books and all your articles over the years, especially about banking, corruption, and the financial crisis. i am curious if you have read the book 'The Chickenship Club) [] and your thoughts on it?

by decebalus1   2018-11-10
> It's amazing the effect a CEO locked in a cage for a few years like an animal has on the population of CEOs as a whole. Treat digital infrastructure like we treat real infrastructure. If people built bridges the way we build software infrastructure, rafts of executives would be rotting in prison.

Never going to happen. Especially in the current 'business friendly' administration. This [1] book does a great job at explaining why. I don't think we'll see a CEO behind bars for anything white-collar in our generation. Sadly. Judges and prosecutors are political animals too, you know.


by spodek   2018-03-17
For those interested in learning about the United States government moving from prosecuting white-collar criminals to settling, the difference between the SEC and Justice Department misses the point.

The book The Chickenshit Club by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist tells a more thorough and comprehensive, though infuriating and tragic, story.

by bradleyjg   2017-12-19
> Causing financial crisis wasn't illegal. Unethical but not a crime. Except for some cases of misselling products, banks playing against the customer etc.

The exception there swallows the rule. Prosecutors could have, and in previous financial crises did, prosecute top executives under the laws against, for example, wire fraud.

They didn't this time for reasons outlined in the excellent book: Chickenshit Club (

by Top19   2017-10-30
Arthur Schlesinger Jr’s “The Cycles of American History”

“The Forth Turning” or “Generations” by Neil Howe and William Strauss. Although be warned although those books were well received at the time in like 1993 (including a pretty positive review by the N.Y. Times) they are little less ‘academic’ than Schlesinger’s.

Also the authors Samuel Lubell, R.G. Collingwood, and Frank L. Klinberg.

Regarding the concept of “willful blindness” that is currently experiencing a revival in academic legal circles and is forming the basis for an aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach to white-collar crime, look at “The Chickenshit Club” by Jesse Eisinger.

The Cycles of American History

Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069

The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives

by jgalt212   2017-10-05
it blows my mind that basically any financial crime committed by a big shop results in a fine (and more regulation/compliance) instead of jail time for the bad actors.

of course, if the crime is committed by a penny ante fraudster, then the DOJ is not afraid to put them in jail.

by rrdharan   2017-10-05
Many reasonable people seem to believe that the backlash and horror inm response to the US government killing of Arthur Andersen and the subsequent job losses were what led to the later toothless reactions by the DoJ to subsequent corporate scandals:

by jgalt212   2017-08-19
Yes, but even when the Dems were running DOJ, they did not go after corporate executives.

new book on this by Pro Publica reporter: