Goldman Sachs legal chief slams Biden DOJ over white-collar change
Goldman Sachs’ general counsel raised concerns about the Justice Department’s approach to corporate crime, particularly a recent shift in appointing more independent monitors after criminal settlements.
Kathryn Ruemmler, who was promoted to chief legal officer at the financial giant last year, said on Friday she told Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco she disagreed with her on the effectiveness to impose third-party monitors as part of corporate resolutions.
“I just don’t think that’s a space the department really should be in,” Ruemmler said at the American Bar Association’s white-collar crime conference in San Francisco.
Monaco, whom another conference panelist described as a good friend of Ruemmler, announced last fall that DOJ prosecutors would have more freedom to demand the imposition of police compliance oversights by wrongdoers. companies. Companies don’t like surveillance missions, which they have to pay for and which can cost tens of millions of dollars over several years.
“I’ve long been of the view that monitors should really be reserved for fairly unusual cases, that they shouldn’t be the norm, that they should only be required in very, very rare circumstances,” Ruemmler said, who served as a White House attorney. to former President Barack Obama.
The DOJ is “at its best when it investigates and prosecutes crimes,” added Ruemmler, who was also senior assistant deputy attorney general under Obama. “That’s what they should be doing. And when you start getting into monitors, the department starts to feel and I think it feels a bit more like a regulator.
The department attached monitors to a pair of end-of-year regulations last year, after their enforcement plunged into the Trump era.
The Goldman executive said she was also skeptical about how the DOJ’s commitment to prosecute more individuals involved in white-collar crimes would be implemented. Ruemmler, who as a DOJ prosecutor played a leading role in indicting Enron executives in the 2000s, said Attorney General Merrick Garland’s commitment to prioritizing individual accountability is “important” and a “fairly uncontroversial” long-standing priority.
Still, she advised the Biden DOJ to be careful “that in the zeal to focus on individuals, you don’t start bringing cases where there’s a real question of whether or not someone really committed crimes. criminal acts”.
“Sometimes what worries me when there’s general political talk from department leaders is how it’s filtered down to the rest of the department with less experienced prosecutors,” Ruemmler added.