Voting for Business Ethics

Morgan O'Rourke


October 11, 2012

As Americans head to the polls this election season, many important issues will guide their choice of candidate. Not surprisingly, given the economic difficulties of recent years, 64% of Americans surveyed in a poll by securities litigation firm Labaton Sucharow LLP believe that illegal or unethical corporate conduct was a major contributor to the economic crisis. As a result, 61% will consider a candidate’s commitment to fighting corporate wrongdoing as a significant factor in determining who will receive their vote.

The survey also underlined the pervasive lack of faith that Americans have in the government and politicians when it comes to preventing corporate misconduct. Four-fifths (81%) do not believe the government has done enough to stop corporate wrongdoing, and 77% believe that politicians favor corporate interests over their own.

“At the federal, state and local level, politicians who fail to demonstrate a credible commitment to stopping corporate corruption are likely to be looking for new jobs,” said Jordan Thomas, partner and chair of Labaton Sucharow’s whistleblower representation practice.

A positive sign, however, is that reform efforts could be encouraging workers to take action: 83% would blow the whistle themselves given the protections and incentives offered by initiatives like the new SEC Whistleblower Program.

Morgan O’Rourke is editor in chief of Risk Management and director of publications for the Risk & Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS)