Top Ten Corporate Outrages

by on July 12, 2010 · 7 comments

in Culture, Economy, History, War and Peace


by Political Action

You might have heard this: BP is so well connected in Washington that even after being cited for 760 different safety and environmental violations, the company still got environmental waivers for the Deepwater Horizon rig that’s now destroying the Gulf.1

But BP’s not alone in using its DC influence. Check out the list below of other companies’ outrages—then pass it along. And be sure to sign the new Fight Washington Corruption Pledge to support 3 key measures that will protect our democracy from corporate lobbyists!

exxon-takover1. Exxon Mobil made billions in profits, and yet paid not one dime in federal income taxes in 2009.2

2. The 2005 energy bill had a little known provision, commonly called the Halliburton Loophole, which exempted natural gas drilling from the Clean Water Act. The result? Water so contaminated that you can light it on fire.3

3. Massey Energy was cited more than 2400 times for safety violations in its mines, but chose not to fix potentially lethal problems because low penalties meant it was cheaper to simply keep paying the fines. This spring, 29 miners were killed in an underground explosion at a Massey mine in West Virginia.4

4. Michael Taylor was the FDA official who approved the use of Monsanto’s Bovine Growth Hormone in dairy cows (even though it’s banned in most countries and linked to cancer). After approving it, he left the FDA—to work for Monsanto. Until last year, when he moved back to the government—as President Obama’s “Food Safety Czar.” No joke.5

Halliburton5. Internal Toyota documents outline how the company was successful in limiting regulators actions in the recalls last year—saving hundreds of millions while the death toll continued to climb.6

6. GE and its lobbyists—including 33 former government employees—have successfully lobbied Congress to override Defense Department requests to cancel a GE contract to work on a new engine for the Joint Strike Fighter jet. GE will need $2.9 billion to finish the project.7

7. Top executives at 9 top banks including Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley paid themselves over $20 billion dollars in bonuses just weeks after taxpayers bailed them out to the tune of 700 billion dollars.8

8. During the waning days of the Bush administration, officials responded to a long-term lobbying campaign by pre-empting product liability lawsuits for dozens of whole industries. They bypassed Congress entirely and rewrote rules ranging from seatbelt manufacturing regulations to prescription drug safety.9

9. Sunscreen manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough, in the interest of profits, are opposing an FDA proposal requiring full reporting on sunscreen labels. The New York Times just confirmed that current SPF ratings don’t even measure sun rays that cause cancer.10

10. BP—a company with a record of 760 drilling safety and environmental violations—was granted safety waivers in order to operate the deepwater drilling rig that ultimately created the worst environmental disaster in US history.1

Mad yet? Sign the pledge here and we’ll pass your name on to your member of Congress, and ask them to Fight Washington Corruption too.


1. “BP’s latest plan succeeding, but may make spill worse,” Newsweek, June 2, 2010.

2. “GE, Exxon Paid No U.S. Income Taxes in 2009,” ABC News, April 6, 2010

3. “Why is Dick Cheney Silent on the Oil Spill?,” Newsweek, June 10, 2010

4. “Other Massey Mines Showed A Pattern Of Violations,” NPR, April 13, 2010

5. “Monsanto’s man Taylor returns to FDA in food-czar role,” Grist, July 8, 2009

6. “Toyota tried to cut costs on recalls,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2010

7. “GE vice chairman openly challenges Gates over F-35 fighter jet engine,” The Hill, June 17, 2010

8. “Bankers Reaped Lavish Bonuses During Bailouts,” The New York Times, July 30, 2009

9. “Bush Rule Changes Curtail Rights of States, Consumers,” Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2008

10. “UVA Reform: It’s Not PDQ,” The New York Times, June 23, 2010

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar tj July 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Well done article.

The above list isn’t just part of what’s wrong with America – IT IS WHAT’S WRONG.

Unfortunatly, the problem is so big, & wide-spread – with the mainstream media in their back pocket – the general public seems reticent to comment – (until the results become blatently obvious, like BP) – for the time being ….

Toyota is a good example of how powerful these multi-Billion dollar corporations are – from front page – to no page – in a very short time, & with both former & new problems/ recalls – still in the picture.

Too many Washington Politicians = the best government, money can buy …. the general public be damned.



avatar annagrace July 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm

You want to talk outrage? How about this one: My brother Jack showed me a letter he received from Halliburton via his lawyer. Yes- that Halliburton. It appears that Halliburton has declared bankruptcy. And because they have declared bankruptcy, they will only be required to pay out pennies on the dollar in the settlement of my brother’s suit.

Two years ago my brother was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly kind of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. By the 1940’s the asbestos industry was well aware of the health hazards but the use of asbestos was not discontinued until the mid-70’s. My brother worked in maintenance in power plants and was exposed to asbestos for close to two decades. It is common that mesothelioma isn’t diagnosed until twenty or thirty years after the exposure.

The industry had to set aside a pool of compensation money for those workers diagnosed with asbestos related diseases. In the 1980’s, Halliburton bought one of those companies which was required to provide compensation. According to the letter I saw, Halliburton has declared bankruptcy- in that particular division.

We the citizens continue to shovel money at Halliburton- they are involved in the Gulf clean up- and a day doesn’t dawn in Iraq without the flow of our tax dollars into Halliburton’s coffers. I can’t quite wrap my head around the words “bankruptcy” and “Halliburton” in the same sentence.

Halliburton appears to be well compensated for its efforts, my brother not so much for his. Jack is probably looking at another three to nine months on the planet. It is unlikely that he will live long enough to see the individual compensation checks that represent the settlements from each of the companies involved.

I feel certain that Halliburton is looking well into the future, already aware of the possibilities, poised to act. When Jack, or perhaps my sister-in-law, receives the few thousand dollars from Halliburton, I wonder what they will be thinking about the future, the possibilities.


avatar Sunshine July 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm

my dear anna grace,
this is exactly why I’m ashamed to call America my home at times. my highest thoughts and heartfelt compassions go out to you and your brother.


avatar annagrace July 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Thanks Sunshine. I read earlier this morning your post to Living the dream…” so I know how much of your empathy comes from your own personal experiences. Hang in there Sunshine. I am so glad you decided to call OB your home.


avatar BillRayDrums July 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Lobbyists and attorneys control the country for the most part.


avatar Molly July 13, 2010 at 2:13 pm

What happened to the banks, my friend, the mega-banks? Six mega-banks control resources equivalent to two-thirds of our national GNP. You know them: B of A, Citi-Group, Chase, …..

Banks and corporations will hire lawyers to sit on their boards of directors, and the boards hire lobbyists. Just trying to set the pecking order up correctly.


avatar nunya July 18, 2010 at 9:39 am

Wow, this is a great article. I especially love the list of links to articles corporate malfeasance. I’ve been so disgusted at the MSMs caving into corporate pressure that I gave up reading most of it.


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