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Conyers Introduces Two Corporate Crime Bills

Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) has introduced two major corporate crime bills being pushed by consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

One, the Corporate Crime Database Act, would require the Justice Department to establish and update a database tracking criminal, civil and administrative proceedings against corporations and to make the database free via the Internet.

The second bill, the Dangerous Products Warning Act, would require corporations to warn consumers and regulators if they products are dangerous or deadly.

“Corporate crime has long swept our nation, draining people’s hard-earned savings and severely harming the health and safety of millions of people,” Nader said.

“The executive and corporate perpetrators of this crime wave, far more often than not, are getting away scot-free and sometimes promoted.”

“Representative Conyers has championed corporate accountability for many years.  Consumers, workers and taxpayers should appreciate his steadfast leadership in reminding Congress of the need to hold corporations and their CEOs responsible, under adequate law enforcement, for corporate crimes and their violations. We expect other members of Congress will join with Representative Conyers in supporting these long-overdue pieces of legislation, unless, that is they are comfortable with the harm done to citizens back home by such constant corporate ravages.”

Gary Ruskin, director of the Center for Corporate Policy, said that the bills “would help protect consumers from deadly products and inform citizens about corporate crime and who perpetrates it.”

 The Dangerous Products Warning Act (H.R. 4451) would require companies to warn consumers, employees and the appropriate federal regulators of any product or service that poses a serious danger to the public.

The legislation would create criminal liability for product supervisors who knew of serious dangers but failed to warn federal regulators or affected parties.

Under this legislation, such warnings must be made within fifteen days after such discovery is made, or immediately if there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death.  It would also prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers who disclose product dangers to regulators.

The Corporate Crime Database Act (H.R. 4452) would require the Justice Department to establish a database containing administrative, civil and criminal proceedings against corporations or corporate officials initiated by the federal or state governments.

It would also require the Justice Department to prepare an annual report on the number of criminal, administrative and civil actions brought against corporations or corporate officials, as well as the ultimate disposition of those actions, including the size of any fines or other penalties.

On Wednesday, USA Today published an op-ed by Ralph Nader titled “Carnage is a Corporate Tradition” in support of the Dangerous Products Warning Act.

In March, Nader wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled “Getting Tough on Devastating Corporate Crime.”

The Center for Corporate Policy recently released letters in support of the Dangerous Products Warning Act and the Corporate Crime Database Act.

The Center for Corporate Policy is a project of Essential Information.

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