A Billionaire Behaves Like Al Capone, Gets Away With It, And Nobody Cares.

Robert F. Smith

I don’t know how much more of this I can stand.

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that ethics rot is galloping through U.S. society and culture faster than I or anyone can match in efforts to curb it, and my wan attempts to sound ethics alarms are futile. This story is more proof.

Last fall, Robert F. Smith, the billionaire founder of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm, paid $139 million to federal authorities to settle one of the biggest tax evasion cases in American history. The tax evasion that sent gangster Al Capone to federal prison (where he died) was peanuts in comparison. Smith, a billionaire (and who knows how much of his wealth was acquired by unethical or illegal means, since he tried to cheat his own country out of taxes while butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers were paying their fair shares) could pay a $139 million with the ease you or I could pay an over-due parking ticket.

Yet despite this admission of criminal activity on a grand scale,

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