George Terwilliger — formerly of the DOJ and now in private practice — had some wise words about decisions to launch internal investigations. His article in law.com included this tightly packed and well-mannered exhortation:
Most corporate decision-makers do not have the experience necessary to anticipate the judgments and proclivities of enforcement officials. Understanding how prosecutors think and what factors are important to them is essential to deciding whether and to what extent to conduct an internal investigation. Animated discussion, in the confines of privilege, with professionals who understand what prosecutors expect and why, is essential to sound analysis of an investigation’s results and good decisions based on its results. This kind of analysis also is best broadened — within the confines of privilege — to include in-house personnel with financial, public relations and investor-relations expertise, as the decisions made will significantly affect the portfolios of each.
Great advice, with a serious reminder about the attorney-client privilege. It protects the normal give-and-take that’s essential for sound decision-making.
* * *
Who are we fighting for? Yemen’s executive, judicial, and legislative accountability mechanisms are among the worst assessed in 2008. Although there are strong anti-corruption laws on the books, the anti-corruption agency is ineffective. Furthermore, political financing is generally unregulated, while civil society organizations are ineffective in fighting corruption. The media, which is subject to political interference, also receives poor ratings. Several journalists have been arrested, harassed, or imprisoned for their corruption-related investigative stories. Government control over private radio is among the most draconian in the world.
* * *
Kosmos Energy, Exxon Mobil, and Ghana. A huge oil find, a struggle for control, corruption allegations, and a Chinese subplot. Here.
* * *
Words we like. From Justice Louis Brandeis, concurring in Charlotte Anna Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927) at 375:
Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the state was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.