Preview: Going to Jail for Justice

In December 2008, during the closing weeks of the Bush White House, 27-year-old environmental activist Tim DeChristopher went to protest the auction of gas and oil drilling rights to more than 150,000 acres of publicly-owned Utah wilderness. But instead of yelling slogans or waving a sign, DeChristopher disrupted the proceedings by starting to bid. Given an auction paddle designating him “Bidder 70”, DeChristopher won a dozen land leases worth nearly two million dollars. He was arrested for criminal fraud, found guilty, and sentenced to two years in federal prison — even though the new Obama Administration had since declared the oil and gas auction null and void.

On this week’s show, DeChristopher — who was released less than a month ago — joins Bill to talk about the necessity of civil disobedience in the fight for justice, how his jury was ordered to place the strict letter of the law over moral conscience, and the future of the environmental movement.

Also on the show, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson tells Bill that, five years after the country’s economic near-collapse, banks are still too big to fail, too big to manage, and too big to trust. Stockholders’ reaffirmation of Jamie Dimon as JP Morgan Chase’s chairman and CEO this week — despite a year of accusations and investigations at the bank — is further evidence, she says, of an unchecked system that continues to covet profits and eschew accountability, putting our economy and democracy at risk.

Learn more about the production team behind Moyers & Company. Watch the full show »

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  • Stephen Flinn

    When I saw the budget for new regulations and enforcement, it appears like a needle in a haystack.

    How can regulators afford to do their tasks when left with so little funding?

    It seems as if they can only go after Financial Corporations who have violated the Law in hindsight. Taking years of time (and money) to so.

    Add to that the new brew of more complexity than we saw under Glass Steagall + minuscule funding = mission impossible.

  • Jeff Healitt

    Gretchen and Tim.. two of my biggest heroes.

  • EJS

    How could whatever Tim DeChristopher did possibly be criminal. I know that the federal criminal code is full of all kinds of vague and ambiguous provisions criminalizing all kinds of behavior at the whim of a prosecutor, but this is ridiculous.