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The government can't just dissolve a corporation on a whim. We have due process and the rule of law.



> The government can't just dissolve a corporation on a whim.

Not on a whim, but for (e.g., in Delaware) “abuse, misuse or nonuse of its corporate powers, privileges or franchises.” (Delaware Code Title 8, § 284.)

> We have due process and the rule of law.

While rarely used in practice currently (it was more used in the past, and there is a movement to revive the practice), the law provides for charter revocation for corporate misconduct.


The point is that charter revocation requires both the executive and judicial branch to agree. Moreover, I think I can guarantee that any vague sounding statement like "abuse, misuse or nonuse of its corporate powers, privileges or franchises." has been translated into a series of relatively specific conditions by the courts. You can't just sue someone for being vaguely terrible.

Basically, however appalling the unaccountable power of credit bureaus is, it was legal yesterday and it's not the job of either the executive branch or the judicial to decide today that such power isn't legal today. The judicial system especially is oriented towards prevent that kind of thing. Rather, deciding that is the job of (even more dysfunctional) legislative branch.

This, of course, doesn't guarantee that executive or judicial branch couldn't "get religion" and try to get end this situation but it would have it own messiness.

And there you have it - an American legal/government system very much resembling a well built car driven far too long without an overhaul.


It doesn't seem like the executive and judicial branches will need to get involved whatsoever if there is a multibillion dollar lawsuit; if successful this will basically 'dissolve' Equifax.


Well, I wouldn't shed any tears over the dissolution of Equifax and other credit agencies - though a lawsuit would of course involve the judicial branch (the courts).

But the problem is:

A. If Equifax gets a judgment for close to or for more than the company is worth, the simplest way one could assure the suit is paid to sell the company, keeping the operation going rather than ending it.

B. Many businesses integrate credit checks into their operations - it's ridiculous and despicable as mentioned by other but most of these companies and individuals (landlord for example) at least imagine they couldn't survive without the credit agencies so this large group would push for another solution then just getting rid of the credit agencies.

C. Getting rid of one credit agencies leaves the other two even stronger.


If there were a $17 billion judgement against a $17 billion company, it would not sell for $17 billion.

It is also unlikely a $17 billion market cap = $17 billion in assets during an emergency sale. Especially with the shadow of a $17 billion judgement that could encumber the acquired assets.

It's bad business to acquire assets from someone with a judgement against them, unless you're getting a great deal.


If there were a $17 billion judgement against a $17 billion company, it would not sell for $17 billion.

If there is a judgment against a company which that company cannot pay, that company enters bankruptcy.

What happens when a corporation enter bankruptcy is the assets of the corporation are assigned to a receiver. The receiver then disposes of those assets with the aim of raising as much money as possible to pay the creditors involved. In the case of a credit bureau, keeping the bureau functioning would arguably be the best way to earn money to pay the individuals who the corporation owes money to - both the people who the got the judgment (first priority), other creditors(second priority) and then the share-holder (third priority).

This situation means that corporation that produces toxic waste, dumps it in a river and goes bankrupt from a private suit against it could continue to produce toxic in order keep producing and making money, in order to pay that judgment (it would probably be argued that the toxic-waste leak was a one-time thing).

Part of the problem is a private lawsuit isn't a substitute for state regulation even if it's often presented as such. Part of the problem is the very worst that happen to the owners, the shareholder, is their shares become worthless so their incentive for stopping truly bad behavior by organizations is limited.

You might say this is fucked-up and I would agree with you. Don't confuse my comments with statements of support for how things. I simply want to thorough, accurate and complete summary of just what a messy we're in.


Bankruptcy is the strange other side of the US debt system. In this case, it would be an unfair get out of jail free card, a shirking of responsibility.


"Well, I wouldn't shed any tears over the dissolution of Equifax and other credit agencies"

In Project Mayhem we have no names.


> they couldn't survive without the credit agencies

Europe operates just fine without the notion of credit or credit agencies.


If there is a lawsuit, the judicial branch is involved.


This assumes the highest good is to maintain the previously defined delineation of governmental branches.

Some of the legislative branch dysfunction is due to interference from the same corporate interests they should govern.

Corporations are able to DoS their oversight.

You are correct there will be unexpected messiness. The question becomes whether our current trend is sustainable over the long term; many believe the second order effects cannot be worse than the path we are currently on.


What I can't believe is why there's not a criminal case against these idiots? When you are controlling something dangerous and you allow that thing to harm someone else, it's a criminal offense. It's not a matter of whether it's hard. It's simply your responsibility to ensure no one gets hurt. This company has already caused harm to literally everyone in the US. Minimally, we all now have to take action to attempt to avoid identity theft. And it only gets worse from here. And these bastards have the chutzpah to wait until hurricane Irma is upon us to make the announcement.


Bourgeois law in its wisdom protects individual property owners from their mistakes, unless they affect owners of larger property... that said, Equifax may have just fucked over the entire retail/consumer credit industry in the US, so the hammer may very well fall on them. We might get some of those banker perp-walks everyone loves.

But with the current administration as well as Congress (we're likely to see a Federal gov't shutdown over the budget even though the Republicans control the legislature and White House), I wouldn't anticipate seeing any regulation down the pike because of this.

They mention the Struts vuln, but not which one... did an attacker access the info directly via a naive attack, or was this a campaign? Having worked on Enterprise-Ready(tm) systems I wouldn't be surprised if Equifax had an unsegmented network...


If people did not go to jail for the wells fargo fiasco where willful fraud was committed, I very much doubt anyone will go to jail for this. Although you are absolutely right, someone should be severely punished for this.


> This company has already caused harm to literally everyone in the US.

Not yet. People might be annoyed but not many of them have been harmed yet. They're harmed when their identity is actually stolen (i.e. used by someone else), not merely when someone gets access to their data.

(Not saying I like this system. Just saying this it how the system works.)


Since Congress defines what the law is, couldn't they do it? The only law binding Congress's lawmaking powers is the Constitution, and I don't think it restricts their ability to dissolve corporations.


It does actually have such a restriction (Article 1 Section 9): "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." Further, it prohibits the states from passing such laws as well (Article 1 Section 10).


If Equifax gets sued into bankruptcy and the government passes a law for next time this happens I'd be okay with that outcome.


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

So this would only work if you can find a clause permitting them to do this. I assume this would be the commerce clause?


In addition to what others have said, you cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process in the US.


In principle that's true...

In reality 1. You can be shot by a cop even if you do not pose a real threat (they just need to claim they though you might have a gun, simple) 2. People are routinely kept in jail for unreasonably long time because their families cannot afford bail often on things charges are dropped for later 3. Ever hear of civil forfeiture?

The whole thing is a nice story that we love to repeat to each other. Maybe it was easier to accept that during the cold war when the other guys were worse and news traveled slowly (or didn't). It's pretty apparently that isn't true given the quick news cycle... and opening any US history book.

Sometimes I wish I could myself become a corporation. Seams it's much easier to exercise your rights as a corporation.


>Ever hear of civil forfeiture?

Yes, a process in which the government has to prove to the same standard of evidence as someone suing you. That is due process.


The difference being that the government confiscates the property while the case makes its way through court.

In practice this is a huge difference.


> Yes, a process in which the government has to prove to the same standard of evidence as someone suing you.

That's not quite true. They don't make a claim against _you_. They make a claim against the property.

So, it's the same level of evidence and adversarial hearings as someone suing $1,000. This is not due process. It's a farce.


They have to convince a jury that the property in question is the proceeds of a crime.


That's not true in all cases, which is one of the problems people have with civil asset forfeiture.


That is civil asset forfeiture.


Not all states guarantee a jury trial for civil asset forfeiture.

And federal civil asset forfeiture almost always starts out as administrative forfeiture which doesn't involve the judiciary at all.

When the feds seize an asset the owner has 60 days to file a claim. If no claim is filed the government keeps the asset.

If a claim is filed, the government can either pursue civil or criminal forfeiture. In the case of civil forfeiture there is a right to a trial by jury.

However, as I said previously this isn't automatic. The person has to either have the legal knowledge to know how to file a claim, or they need a lawyer. In the majority of cases no claim is filed in many cases because the legal fees necessary to recover the asset will be greater than the value of the asset.

Basically if the government sizes a few grand in cash, it will cost you too much to recover it to make it worth it.

In states like Tennessee, police can seize your cash and you have to sue to get it back. They automatically get to keep the assets unless you sue them. They don't need to convince a jury of anything unless you sue them.

This is not the same thing as a person suing you and then using a replevin action to force you to give up your property. This is like if a person broke into your house, took your TV, and then you were forced to initiate a lawsuit to get it back. Plus you couldn't recover legal fees, it was significantly more complicated and costly than small claims court, and the thief suffered no consequences beyond returning the TV even if they lost the case.

Even Clarence Thomas, the most conservative member of the the Supreme Court, indicated in recent statement that he believes the current way civil asset forfeiture is practiced is unconstitutional.


Due process has been somewhat lacking in practice. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/politics/justice-depar...


I'm sure that comes as great comfort to all the people in the US to whom that's happened.




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