By Kirk Hancock
It is hard to believe it has been almost ten years since the start of the financial collapse. This anniversary caused me to reread Too Big to Fail, the seminal book by Andrew Ross Sorkin on the near collapse of the Wall Street banking giants. The author did an amazing job of documenting the drama and conversations between so many of the key players during these extraordinary times. It was interesting to reread this with the passage of time. I must admit, the book has held up well over the years.
I recently read another book that will be of interest to Andersen alumni. The book is titled License to Lie: Exposing Corruption in The Department of Justice by Sidney Powell. This book chronicles the prosecution and primarily the appeals associated with Arthur Andersen, several Merrill Lynch executives associated with Enron and Senator Ted Stevens. What was interesting was, once the headlines faded from the initial prosecutions, the appeals exposed some very heavy handed, and according to several judges corrupt, prosecutorial practices by the high-profile prosecution teams. Most of the cases were overturned in appeal, but the wake caused by the overzealous prosecution destroyed many lives and our firm. Perhaps the more chilling outcome is how many of the initial prosecutors rode the fame and success of their convictions to rise in the ranks of the Justice Department. It is not a political book, but it gives the reader some incredible insight into the power of the justice department.
We live in some challenging times. Our confidence in the financial system and the judicial system have been shaken over the 20 years. This has led in part to the anxiety and dysfunction in our political system. We live in the one of the world’s greatest democratic experiments. It is sad, sometimes frightening, to see the stress it is under. The best way I know how to deal with it is to do my part to be a positive force in my community and to exercise my vote. I encourage all of us to do the same and to participate in this great experiment by voting in November.
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