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A New Legal Principle?

November 21, 1985

In each new defense procurement scandal, one looks in vain for assurance that anyone will be seriously and personally punished. We may be witnessing the promulgation of a new legal principle that might be called "corporate gremlinship," after the mythical saboteurs of military aircraft in World War II.

Now that the so-called Department of Justice has given the new doctrine its most spectacularly successful test in the E.F. Hutton check-kiting case, it appears to have been warmly welcomed by the defense community and to be finding much wider application.

When the executives of defense contractors are paid on the average 42% more than their counterparts in other industries, and when realistic penalties--prison terms--for wrongdoing are so seldom imposed, is it any wonder that defense contracts are so widely considered as licenses to steal?

Meanwhile, Justice finds time and money to devote to its own weird priorities, such as lecturing the Supreme Court on the intentions of our Founding Fathers, dismantling affirmative action, promoting the agenda of religious fanaticism, infiltrating and prosecuting the political Sanctuary movement, and indicting some local-level black politicians for alleged electoral manipulation. Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III seems to delight in demonstrating the wisdom of your editorial opposition to his appointment.

MARSHALL PHILLIPS

Long Beach

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