Two Key Corporate Accountability Bills Introduced by Rep. Conyers

News Release

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 11, 2014
For More Information Contact: Ralph Nader or Gary Ruskin (202) 387-8030

Two Key Corporate Accountability Bills Introduced by Rep. Conyers

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced two important corporate accountability measures: (1) the Dangerous Products Warning Act, to require manufacturers to warn consumers and regulators if their products are dangerous or deadly; and (2) the Corporate Crime Database Act, to require the Justice Department to establish and update a database of criminal, civil or administrative proceedings against corporations, and to make it available to the public for free via the Internet.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said, “Corporate crime has long swept our nation, draining people’s hard-earned savings and severely harming the health and safety of millions of people. The executive and corporate perpetrators of this crime wave, far more often than not, are getting away scot-free and sometimes promoted.”  “Representative Conyers has championed corporate accountability for many years.  Consumers, workers and taxpayers should appreciate his steadfast leadership in reminding Congress of the need to hold corporations and their CEOs responsible, under adequate law enforcement, for corporate crimes and their violations.”  Nader added, “We expect other members of Congress will join with Representative Conyers in supporting these long-overdue pieces of legislation, unless, that is they are comfortable with the harm done to citizens back home by such constant corporate ravages.”

“These two great bills would help protect consumers from deadly products, and inform citizens about corporate crime and who perpetrates it,” said Gary Ruskin, director of the Center for Corporate Policy. “They would help hold corporations accountable for their crimes and for failing to warn us about deadly products.”

The Dangerous Products Warning Act (H.R. 4451) would require companies to warn consumers, employees and the appropriate federal regulators of any product or service that poses a serious danger to the public. The legislation would create criminal liability for product supervisors who knew of serious dangers but failed to warn federal regulators or affected parties.  Under this legislation, such warnings must be made within fifteen days after such discovery is made, or immediately if there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death.  It would also prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers who disclose product dangers to regulators.

The Corporate Crime Database Act (H.R. 4452) would require the Justice Department to establish a database containing administrative, civil and criminal proceedings against corporations or corporate officials initiated by the federal or state governments.  It would also require the Justice Department to prepare an annual report on the number of criminal, administrative and civil actions brought against corporations or corporate officials, as well as the ultimate disposition of those actions, including the size of any fines or other penalties.

On Wednesday, USA Today published an op-ed by Ralph Nader titled “Carnage is a Corporate Tradition” in support of the Dangerous Products Warning Act. In March, he also wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled “Getting Tough on Devastating Corporate Crime.”

The Center for Corporate Policy recently released letters in support of the Dangerous Products Warning Act and the Corporate Crime Database Act (DPWA letter/CCDA letter).

The Center for Corporate Policy is a project of Essential Information. Founded in 1982 by Ralph Nader, Essential Information is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. It is involved in a variety of projects to promote corporate accountability, a more just economy, public health and a sustainable planet.  It has published a bi-monthly magazine, books and reports, sponsored conferences, provided writers with grants to pursue investigations, published daily news summaries, operated clearinghouses that disseminate information to grassroots organizations in the United States and developing countries worldwide, and has hosted scores of conferences focusing on government and corporate accountability.