Data For Progress and the Revolving Door Project released the first installment in their Corporate Crackdown Project yesterday alongside new polling showing extraordinary support for the Biden administration aggressively pursuing and prosecuting corporate lawbreaking. Read an article in The New Republic introducing the Corporate Crackdown Project here.
Polling conducted by Data For Progress found that voters agree with the statement “wealthy people and corporations are regularly not punished for breaking the law” by a margin of +67 percentage points. Additionally, with a +80-point margin, likely voters agreed with the statement “when wealthy people and corporations are not punished for breaking laws, people lose trust in the government and the rule of law”. Increasing funding for federal investigations into corporate lawbreaking was backed by a +49-point margin of support.
Notably, this support crosses partisan lines: 70 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Independents, and 70 percent of Democrats surveyed believe the Biden administration should do more to hold lawbreaking corporations accountable.
The polling accompanies the first of a series of reports from Data For Progress and the Revolving Door Project. The reports investigate how it is the responsibility of executive branch agencies to pursue new enforcement actions against corporate lawbreakers violating longstanding law — additional Congressional approval is unnecessary. The first report, written by Data For Progress Senior Advisor Aidan Smith, examines the Department of Labor and independent agencies which protect against labor law violations. The “Protecting Workers From Corporate Crime” report highlights a number of new enforcement actions and rulemakings the Biden administration could pursue. Data For Progress found strong support from the public for all of the policies discussed in the report which it polled.
“We were fairly sure that the public would support cracking down on corporate wrongdoing, but we’re honestly surprised at just how enthusiastic people are, across all political persuasions, for these proposals,” said Jeff Hauser, Executive Director of the Revolving Door Project. “The fact is that we’re living in a populist moment of well-warranted anger toward greedy firms and the ultra-wealthy who lead them. Any Democrat who refuses to engage with that anger is simply ceding it to Republicans, who will direct it at the most vulnerable in society instead of the real cause of so much immiseration. President Biden is overdue to start using the considerable powers of the executive branch to crack down on corporate greed — and just as importantly, to very publicly message doing so. He needs to show the people that he is on their side, not the side of the wealthy and well-connected few.”
“For far too long, the federal government has taken a hands-off approach towards corporate crime. For workers, this has meant that employers have been able to rob them of wages, deny them benefits, and discriminate against them with impunity,” said Aidan Smith, Senior Advisor at Data for Progress, who wrote the “Protecting Workers From Corporate Crime” report. “President Biden has pledged to be the most pro-labor president in American history, and his administration must crack down on employer crime against workers to prove he’s serious about it. Data for Progress polling finds strong support for regulations against employer abuses that would benefit millions of workers. These include restricting corporations’ ability to misclassify workers to deprive them of benefits, stronger punishments for wage theft, and expanding labor protections for caregivers. Taking a hardline approach against corporate crimes against workers will allow Biden to prove he is on the side of the average American, not the privileged few.”