Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Curious inaction from Biden Administration, plus its close ties to a Southern Company board member, suggest a fix might be in on a case of criminal fraud

Joe Biden and Southern Co. board member Ernest Moniz

Does the appointment during the Obama-Biden administration of a Secretary of Energy (who now is a member of the Southern Company's board of directors) -- along with the inaction of federal agencies toward the company's massive accounting-fraud schemes-- raise this disturbing question: Has the Biden administration, apparently doing favors for simpatico parties, essentially "fixed" the criminal case for Southern Company?

Longtime Alabama attorney and businessman Donald Watkins raises the issue head-on and points to a number of factors that suggest a "fix" is in place to favor Southern Company. In a post titled "Did Biden’s DOJ “Fix” Criminal Case for Southern Company?" Watkins is not shy about calling out the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Watkins writes:

Whenever a federal law-enforcement agency fails to ask a single question about officially reported criminal conduct, including financial crimes, and fails to ask for documentation evidencing the reported financial crimes, the case has been “fixed.”

Whenever a chief compliance officer at a New York Stock Exchange/Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-regulated company fails to ask a single question about reported accounting fraud at his/her publicly traded company in the aftermath of HealthSouth, Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco, the case has been “fixed.”

Whenever an “independent” law firm hired by the offending New York Stock Exchange/SEC-regulated company to conduct the internal investigation referenced in JM, §9-28-900 for a non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) fails to ask a single question about reported accounting fraud and fails to request the documentation evidencing such fraud, the case has been “fixed.”

That raises all kinds of troubling questions about the Biden Administration. Here is one such question: Does Team Biden take justice issues seriously, or does it reduce the "rule of law" to a matter of swapping favors back and forth? Consider the following from Donald Watkins:

Why has no federal regulatory or law-enforcement agency under President Joe Biden’s watch expressed an interest in the accounting-fraud schemes at the Southern Company? Maybe, it's because Deloitte & Touche signed off on the company’s 10-Qs and 10-Ks and they have full confidence in Deloitte & Touche? Well, Ernst & Young signed off on HealthSouth’s 10-Qs and 10-Ks. Arthur Andersen signed off on Enron’s and WorldCom’s 10-Qs and 10-Ks. PricewaterhouseCoopers signed off on Tyco’s 10-Qs and 10-Ks. All of these companies were well-respected accounting firms. Their sign-offs were meaningless and only served to hinder the eventual discovery of the accounting-fraud schemes.

Has Joe Biden’s DOJ agreed, in principle, to forgive the Southern Company for its long-running, multi-state racketeering enterprise and massive, multi-year accounting-fraud schemes in exchange for: (a) the payment of multi-billion dollar fines and penalties, (b) the purging of scapegoat executives like former Alabama Power Company CEO Mark Crosswhite and a dozen or so other Southern Company senior-management executives, (c) the “retirement” of Tom Fanning, and (d) the customary promise from the Southern Company of good behavior going forward?

It also might raise eyebrows in the direction of the former Energy Secretary who now sits on the Southern Company board -- and the questions hardly stop there, per Watkins:

What role, if any, did Southern Company board member Ernest Moniz play in getting the non-prosecution deal done? Moniz was Secretary of Energy from 2013 to 2017 under the Barack Obama-Joe Biden administration. Biden is very fond of Moniz. He joined the Southern Company board of directors on March 1, 2018.

Was the Southern Company’s appointment of Chris Womack as incoming CEO, effective on May 24, 2023, a goodwill offering to the Biden administration’s diversity agenda and a public relations gimmick to fumigate the foul smell of DOJ’s planned non-prosecution deal for the Southern Company?

Did Bill Clinton, a Southern Company "special friend" with strong connections to Biden’s DOJ, pull off the ultimate “fix” for the Southern Company, and at what cost to the company's customers?

Is the Southern Company really "too big to prosecute"?

How much money are the minions in the Southern Company’s sphere of influence obligated to raise for Joe Biden’s re-election campaign in this non-prosecution scenario?

In light of these burning questions, did Joe Biden's DOJ "fix" this criminal case for the Southern Company?

You decide!


legalschnauzer said...

Does all of this make you wonder about the accounting industry, companies like Deloitte and Ernst & Young? Are they incompetent or can they be paid to look the other way in the face of fraud?

legalschnauzer said...

It's interesting that Donald Watkins references the HealthSouth derivative lawsuit -- the one involving Doug Jones (Dem.) and Rob Riley (Repug) working in concert to make big bucks on attorney fees. If big money is involved, political differences go out the door. We discussed this at some length in the comments section of yesterday's post, and we will share more thoughts today.

legalschnauzer said...

Props to Alabama activist and retired attorney Dana Jill Simpson for standing up to Doug Jones when he trashed Sam Stein (Huffington Post) and me for our reporting on the HealthSouth derivative lawsuit, which is the kind of case that likely will be brought in the current Southern Company scandal.

Here is the headline on our Jill Simpson story: Critical reporting on Doug Jones draws fire from know-nothing Democrats, but Jill Simpson stands tall on Jones' alliance with GOP bottom-feeder Rob Riley.

Here is the URL:

From the story: Alabama Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones conspired with Republican operative Rob Riley to hurt the chances for reversal on appeal of former governor Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, a retired attorney and prominent whistleblower said in a Facebook post over the weekend.

Dana Jill Simpson, who testified under oath before Congress about a Republican meeting (including Rob Riley) to plan a political prosecution of Siegelman, was responding to attacks against me for my critical reporting of Jones last week. Simpson, by the way, was not the only legal figure with deep knowledge of the Siegelman case to support my reporting on Doug Jones. (More on that in a moment.) . . .

Why is Simpson down on Doug Jones? She says essentially that Jones jumped in bed with the hideously corrupt Rob Riley so they could garner millions in attorney fees from a civil case against HealthSouth -- by harming Siegelman and Scrushy on appeal of their criminal convictions. Simpson does not provide too many specifics, but she hints that Jones and Riley engaged in, or tried to engage in, obstruction of justice. From the Simpson Facebook statement (with some editing for clarity):

I must admit like Roger I don't like Doug Jones. I watched him run around with Rob Riley and do everything in his power to hurt Mr Scrushy and Mr Siegelman appeal so he and Rob could collect 55 Million in legal fees against Mr Scrushy [and] Healthsouth. I watched him say ugly things about Mr Scrushy in the Village Voice at a critical time during the appeal and I was repeatedly told he told folks in DC I was not believable or ready for Primetime. Well he isn't either in my opinion.


Roger's Bottom line: Jones, if my memory is correct, never pointed to anything inaccurate in Sam Stein's reporting -- or mine. He just did not like that we outed his collaborative effort with Rob Riley in a chase for big attorney fees. We'll have more on those fees in a bit

Robby Scott Hill said...

The Riley Administration was a disaster for Alabama Progressives & Doug Jones voted with Republicans so often when he was in the US Senate, he might as well have been a Republican. I never changed nor did I recant my early absentee vote for Judge Roy Moore. What’s ironic is the same people who told me they were voting for Trump despite his sex scandals & other scandals told me I couldn’t vote for Moore. That’s the One Party State & it’s Cancel Culture. Moore got canceled, Trump didn’t because Trump was good for the corporate interest & the pocketbooks of the elite.

legalschnauzer said...

Tommy Gallion, Montgomery attorney, has called the Rileys part of the "Alabama Cabal." That reminds me, a story is breaking this afternoon, from Rolling Stone, that Trump is asking his advisors for a "battle plan" to attack Mexico, supposedly the part inhabited by drug cartels. Does anyone else think that sounds just a bit insane? Let's be sure to go to the suburbs and get white Republican parents to get their sons and daughters to sign up for that mission first. They can lead the charge into Tijuana.