Another one of America’s corporate citizens has been caught breaking the law. Halliburton, of Iraq War profiteering fame, pleads guilty to destroying evidence related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. For its crime the company will pay a measly $200,000 as the Department of Justice agreed not to pursue further charges against the company.

Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destruction of critical evidence after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.

The oil services company said it would pay the maximum allowable fine of $200,000 and will be subject to three years of probation. It will also continue its cooperation in the government’s criminal investigation.

The Obama Administration has followed the Bush Administration’s example of being incredibly lenient with crimes committed by corporations.

The Justice Department filed one criminal charge against the company. In a statement, Halliburton said that the violation was a misdemeanor associated with the deletion of records created after the accident. Additionally, the company said, “The Department of Justice has agreed that it will not pursue further criminal prosecution of the company.”

And of course this lax enforcement has really encouraged Halliburton to clean up its act.

[I]n the not-to-distant past, Halliburton found itself under scrutiny over accusations that it performed shoddy, overpriced work for the United States military in Iraq, bribed Nigerian officials to win energy contracts and did business with Iran at time when it faced sanctions.

But don’t worry, that small fine and agreement to pursue no further charges will really do the trick. Nothing says stop breaking the law, like facing no consequences over and over again.

A key tenant of Neoliberalism is that corporations are people under the law. If that is so, should not they, like people, face serious consequences when they break the law? Or is the entire point of creating artificial persons known as corporations to provide a vehicle for committing crime and getting away with it?

Photo by FT2 under public domain.