Black is professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missoury, Kansas City, and author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry. He is an expert on banking fraud, having being the director of litigation of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC), senior vice president and general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and senior deputy chief counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision. He was deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement.
In the wake of the recent SEC decision to file charges against Goldman Sachs for fraud in structuring and marketing of CDO (collateralized debt obligations) tied to subprime mortgages, Black was the right man for Moyers to invite to the Journal to explain to Americans (at least those who care) what happened, how it happened, and how it could have been prevented. Watch the video here.
While talking about the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision, Black offered this suggestion:
[I]f corporations are going to be just like people, let me tell you my criminologist hat. Then let's use the three strike laws against them. Three strike laws, you go to prison for life, if you have three felonies. How many of these major corporations would still be allowed to exist, if we were to use the three strike laws, given what they've been convicted of in the past?
And in most states, they remove your civil rights when you're convicted of a felony. Well, let's take away their right to make political contributions that they're found guilty of a violation.
Simple, imaginative, effective. Pure genius.
The fact that Black is not working for the Obama Administration, and that Tim Geithner and Larry Summers are, says a lot about the President's real priorities when it comes to taking on powerful interests and white collar crime.