The White House is not happy about language on corporate crime that the House Judiciary Committee approved on Wednesday as part of a bipartisan criminal justice reform package. The legislation would eliminate a host of white-collar crimes involving gross negligence or reckless behavior by forcing prosecutors to prove that defendants knew they were breaking specific laws when engaging in obviously illegal activity.
The Department of Justice, the American Bar Association, the Center for American Progress and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights have all raised concerns about the legislation. The broad scope of the legislative language also appears to have implications beyond the corporate world. The Obama administration lit into the bill late Wednesday.
"If the bill became law, a terrorist could only be found guilty for using a weapon of mass destruction if he specifically knew his victims were going to be U.S. nationals, a killer could only be found guilty of certain firearm crimes if he knew the gun traveled in interstate commerce, and a white-collar criminal could only be found guilty of bank fraud if he knew he was robbing a bank that was FDIC-insured," a White House official said in a statement provided to The Huffington Post. "In the President's view, criminal justice reform should only make the system better, not worse."