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NCJ Number: 77822 Find in a Library
Title: Corporate Violation of the Corrupt Practices Act (From White-Collar Crime - An Agenda for Research, P 51-78, 1982, Herbert Edelhertz and Thomas D. Overcast, ed. - See NCJ-77820)
Author(s): M D Ermann; R J Lundman
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
Sale Source: Lexington Books
866 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After tracing the origins of the Corrupt Practices Act and its enforcement following the Watergate scandal, this paper analyzes the Gulf Oil Corporation's illegal efforts to contribute corporate funds to candidates for public office.
Abstract: Congress first passed a law abolishing corporate political contributions in 1907, and similar laws were then enacted at the State level. However, these regulations were rarely enforced until the investigation of the Watergate break-in revealed that several corporations had contributed to the Committee to Re-Elect the President. In the first Federal prosecutions based on violation of the Corrupt Practices Act, 18 corporations were convicted and fined, including the Gulf Oil Corporation. Because Gulf's actions were typical of a frequent type of corporate criminality, an analysis of their activities is presented. Gulf began to violate the Corrupt Practices Act in 1959 when executives became concerned over perceived Government encroachment of the oil industry and decided to divert corporate funds to candidates for public office. Bahamas Exploration, a nearly inactive Gulf subsidiary located in Nassau, became a money laundering center to conceal the corporation's identity as a campaign fund contributor. The director of Gulf's government relations office in Washington, D. C., and his assistants distributed over $5 million to Presidential candidates, congressional campaign committees, and candidates for Federal, State, and local offices during the 1960's. These activities were a well-kept secret and probably would never have been disclosed without Watergate. Because of the compartmentalized roles in a large organization, most individuals who participated in Gulf's criminal actions did not have complete information and none had complete responsibility. Gulf's employees were also the loyal products of their company's selection and training processes, and no one disclosed information on the political contributions or benefited from the loosely controlled campaign funds. Gulf's criminal actions were also indicative of the shared interests of big business and big government. Over 60 footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Bribery; Corruption of public officials; Obstruction of justice; Political influences; White collar crime
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