Why Hasn’t Eric Holder Charged News Corp. With Foreign Corrupt Practices?

ormer News International chairman James Murdoch adjusts his tie as he arrives at the High Court.

James Murdoch in April in London

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

So how do you get a big promotion at News Corp.? Turns out the best way is to ignore the fact that the news-gathering operation is running one of the biggest criminal enterprises ever to be uncovered at a major corporation—illegal wiretapping, hacking, massive bribery, 80 people arrested so far. I guess it also doesn’t hurt if your dad owns the company.

James Murdoch is being given a larger role overseeing News Corp.’s U.S. television operations. OK,   no surprise that there’s no accountability at that company. But it raises questions for me. Do the folks who run News Corp. really believe James Murdoch should be in charge of the TV operations? Who’s on the board there? And what investigation have they done? Have they read the record that clearly suggests that Murdoch either participated in this activity or willfully ignored what he was being told?


The guy wouldn’t be permitted out of a management trainee course in any company I’ve been involved in. I’d like to have a chat with the folks on News Corp.’s board and find out what they are thinking.

And finally, where is the inept U.S. Department of Justice in all this?

The DOJ has brought many irrelevant and tiny cases against companies for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal to bribe either individuals or government officials, even in a company’s overseas operations. The DOJ loves to use the statute to show just how tough it is.

Yet now they have the most important case sitting right there in front of them. It’s easy. Even a rookie could field this one.

But what are they doing? It’s not clear.

If they fail to make this case against News Corp., Eric Holder is a failure as attorney general.