我不知道你们怎么样，反正我已然晕头转向了。谷歌（Google）、沃尔玛（Wal-Mart）、新闻集团（News Corp），还有切萨皮克能源（Chesapeake Energy）。我们都知道绝对权力滋生腐败，但这些由创始人控制的上市公司对伦理道德的公然挑战依然令人震惊。
上月底《纽约时报》（New York Times）的调查性报道出炉后，在《财富》（Fortune）杂志2012年全球最受赞赏公司榜单中排名第24位的沃尔玛公司就深陷贿赂丑闻，现任和前任CEO都涉嫌隐瞒真相，董事会和审计委员会的监督职责也备受质疑。据沃尔玛最新的投票委托书显示，沃尔顿家族的创始人控制着约17亿股沃尔玛股票和近50%的投票权。尽管如此，多年来一直关注沃尔玛董事会独立性和监督力度的纽约市养老基金（New York City Pension Fund）仍提议对董事会的5名董事投反对票。沃尔玛没有回复采访要求。
上周末，《洛杉矶时报》（Los Angeles Times）报道称，谷歌获取私人信息并非像之前声称的那样只是个意外。这家摘得《财富》杂志最受赞赏公司榜眼头衔的公司在2010年的一篇博客中写道：“我们不慎在我们的软件中加入了搜集有效载荷数据样本的代码”
I don't know about you, but my head is spinning. Google, Wal-Mart, News Corp, Chesapeake Energy. We all know absolute power corrupts, but the apparent level of ethical challenge at these public, founder-controlled companies is mind-boggling.
Worse, these companies not only do damage to themselves and those that work there, they lower the level of trust in corporations overall.
Wal-Mart, No. 24 on Fortune's list of World's Most Admired Companies, is knee-deep in a scandal over alleged bribery and a cover-up that implicates both the current and former CEO, and calls into question board and audit committee oversight, following investigative reporting by the New York Times last week. The Walton family founders control approximately 1.7 billion Wal-Mart (WMT) shares and nearly 50% of the voting rights according to the company's latest proxy. Nevertheless, the New York City Pension Fund, which has been concerned with Wal-Mart's board independence and oversight for years, is recommending a no vote on five of the board's members. Wal-Mart did not return a call seeking comments.
At Google (GOOG), its founders control approximately two-thirds of the voting rights in a dual class share arrangement, according to the company's preliminary proxy, and they have plans to ensure that hold.
Over the weekend the Los Angeles Times reported that Google's drive-by capture of personal nformation was not as inadvertent as Fortune's second-most admired company, originally made out. "We had mistakenly included code in our software that collected samples of payload data," a 2010 Google blog entry stated.
But according to the FCC report that Google released late Friday, the work was a result of a "deliberate software design decision." The report shows that the engineer who devised the software submitted draft code and a draft design document to his project leaders, who shared his document with all members of the company's Street View team. Google assigned an engineer to "review and 'debug'" his code, five engineers tested it, and a Google senior manager asked for information from the captured data.
A Google spokesperson wrote in an email to me that the report shows Google did not break the law. But the report states that Google deliberately impeded the FCC's investigation and that "several countries, including Canada, France and the Netherlands have determined that Google's collection of payload data violated their … laws and regulations."
"We hope that we can now put this matter behind us," the Google spokesperson wrote me. And perhaps they'll be able to. U.S. regulators appear to be weak-willed, and shareholders chasing issues at Wal-Mart, News Corp., and Chesapeake Energy, among others, have their hands full and haven't focused on Google's news. We have only so much bandwidth, they've told me.