Marshall B. Clinard
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- Increasingly, our large corporations have been abusing the awesome power that they have amassed. [...] This abuse of power shows itself in many ways. Particularly disturbing have been the efforts of the corporations to conscript the political process for their own benefit through their large financial contributions, both legal and illegal. Although corporate political influence became more pronounced under President Ronald Reagan, it has long exercised a heavy hand over the White House, the Congress, and the state governments. Former top corporate executives often hold many of the most powerful cabinet and top agency positions in the executive branch of government. Politicians listen when large corporations speak. They have enormous advantages in influencing political decision-makers.
- No abuse of power has so tarnished the corporate image or shown the need for government legislation as the numerous public revelations of wholesale political and foreign bribery that came to light during the 1970s. These revelations are one of the most sordid chapters in American corporate history. Investigations revealed widespread illegal corporate political contributions and extensive bribery of foreign government officials. When the bribes were large, they significantly distorted the corporation's actual financial picture, thus misleading company stockholders as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Internal Revenue Service. When U.S. corporations bribe officials of developing countries, they may help to undermine that country's political stability and in some cases contribute to the spread of anti-American feeling. A particularly serious situation develops when pharmaceutical corporations bribe health officials in other countries to obtain permission to sell dangerous drug products.