The operation of a legitimate democratic government should be a familiar rhythmic and almost boring process. Governmental operations ought not involve a magical invisibility cloak or gossamer curtain. When there is a razzle-dazzle; when there is confusion; when there is a deliberate effort to divide us; stop, look, see, question and act. Something is being obscured that you are not meant to see – and it is right there next to you. While I eschew speedy answers, these are key themes.
Fraud in Vermont, I am shocked, shocked. But why not? The state won’t likely investigate. The attorney general won’t likely press criminal charges. The laws are weak. And opportunities abound. In a fine example, of the resource curse, Vermont’s freedoms, views, cheap land are all for sale. Bienvenue, welcome, velkomen, bienvenido, huanying – come on over, especially if you have money. Let’s explore the Jay Peak Resort fraud scheme now.
Roz wants me to “Tell a story that she can do something about.” We are more alike than we ever admit. Today, we struggle to see that. The worst crooks, the crooks who do the most damage to our country walk freely amongst us fully camouflaged. In the recent decade, Vermont fell victim to two massive fraud schemes – these relate to social, economic, and even environmental issues everywhere.
If you want to do something, maybe start with this formula: look, see, question, act. At the root of so much of what is going, there exist elements of corruption, fraud, and an institutional resistance to change. Let’s start that story now.
The Enron debacle of 2 decades ago haunts our legal system today. Enron CEO Jeffery Skilling appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States because claiming that a law related to fraud was too vague. SCOTUS agreed with him thereby weakened key elements of our federal fraud statutes. Now fraudsters have a pathway to avoid convictions. When striving to prevent fraud and corruption with enforcement, we need laws that have teeth and meaning. What you and I might recognize as fraud, may not be illegal. We’ll explore this now.
I interview Sarah Chayes who informs us of how she became an advocate for public integrity as a result of her work in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. We discuss her most recent book: “On Corruption in America and What is at Stake”, published August 2020. We also touch on her 2015 book called “Thieves of State: why corruption threatens global security”.
During the interview, explore the mythology of the Hydra, King Midas, and The Cleansing of the Temple while we talk about current events in the United States.
Please visit Sarah’s website at https://sarahchayes.org.
FEMA’s suffered numerous high-profile investigations and arrests from top to bottom in 2019. Can we see discover the difference between corruption, confused, or conflicted by exploring the investigations and arrests? How do we save our national emergency response agency together? Explore today’s history with us now.