Joe Hirko looked exhausted at his hearing this morning. Still good looking, of course, but tired, like he’d been up all night.
I felt like I was still asleep. I just kept thinking… it’s a dream. It isn’t happening.
But it was.
Sixteen months. For approving a press release.
Even now, it seems unreal.
It makes me question not just our justice system but the meta issue of the role of business in society. It seems that Joe Hirko was caught up in the mounting anti-business hysteria that was started, I am ashamed to say, by President Bush and has gained real traction under President Obama. Even if he was guilty – and he’s not, but let’s pretend he is guilty of telling lies in press releases, so what?
What impact could that possibly have in the world? Who the fuck cares?
This is not a crime. Raping a 13 year old child and running away to France is a crime. Giving tax advice to a sex-slave ring is a crime. Failing to pay your taxes is a crime. Dealing drugs and stealing things are crimes.
Lying in a press release is not a crime.
And Joe Hirko is not a criminal. Joe Hirko is the kind of guy you want on your team. He is honest and kind. He has created wealth and opportunity in America. I am thinking of Obama’s bullshit statement that he “created or saved 600,000 jobs” in the last ten minutes or whatever. I think: how many jobs has Joe Hirko created? How much good has he done?
For seven years, he’s not created any jobs because he’s been ensnared in this nightmare. And he won’t create any jobs for 16 more months. And he won’t be productive and he won’t be paying taxes and we all lose. We all lose when Joe Hirko goes to prison.
They’re taking a good man and making it impossible for him to do good. And bad people, bad-intentioned, bad-minded, small, stingy, outright evil, walk around unburdened by the DOJ.
It’s just wrong. And I’ve tried very hard to explain why it is wrong. I’ve angered some people (for that I am truly sorry). I’ve messed up once or twice. But I swear, I swear on everything I hold dear, I swear my intentions have only ever been to show that Joe Hirko and indeed most of Enron, was good. Good for society, good for business and just objectively good.
That’s all I meant to do.
If I have failed, I’ve failed myself more than anyone else.
I am incredibly sad that Mr. Hirko is going to prison. I’m sad that we live in a world where it is even possible.