Jan 2, 2006
A federal grand jury recently indicted former Qwest Communications Chief Executive Joseph Nacchio on 42 counts of insider trading. Qwest is the Baby Bell based in 14 Western and Midwestern states. In 2001, months before the telecom stock market bubble burst, Nacchio urged employees who depended on Qwest stock for much of their retirement savings to buy more stock. At the same time, he sold 101 million dollars worth of his own shares, faking both the company’s profits and sales in order to boost the stock price. When the telecom stock market bubble burst, Qwest’s stock lost about 75% of its former value, costing most of the employees the bulk of their retirement savings.
According to U.S. Attorney William Leone, Nacchio’s indictment finishes the government investigation of Qwest. This means the government let other executives involved in this scam off the hook.
Nacchio’s boss, Philip Anschutz, the corporate chairman and biggest stockholder of Qwest, sold off four times as much stock as Nacchio right before the bubble burst, while issuing the same lies to the company’s employees and the rest of the public. But he wasn’t indicted.
Apparently the government didn’t want to touch Anschutz, who is one of the richest billionaires in the country, with vast holdings in the oil and gas industry, railroads, telecom companies, newspapers, sports arenas (including the Staples Center in Los Angeles), professional sports teams (including the L.A. Kings hockey team), the Millennium Dome in London and the largest U.S. movie theater chain.
This has left Anschutz not only free to continue to accumulate ever more wealth. It also leaves him free to push a right-wing political agenda under the guise of religious piety. Anschutz has showered money on organizations that preach intolerance against homosexuals and attack single women with children, not to mention a campaign to make abortion illegal – all in the name of so-called “family values.”
Anschutz’s media company has also set up a new division to market its religious-theme books and films to public schools, pushing religion on the public schools while attacking science.
What better cover for a multi-billionaire than “religious piety” and “family values” while he gains his fortune by, among other things, robbing his employees of their savings!