Warren Buffett, self-preservationist

Professor Bainbridge surmises that Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett threw David Sokol under the bus in connection with the Berkshire audit committee report on Sokol's front-running stock purchases, which may be the subject of criminal investigations at this point. Frankly, the Professor makes a good case. However, no one should be surprised if that was Buffett's purpose. As noted here, here and here, there is certainly precedent for Buffett offering up sacrificial lambs to protect himself and Berkshire. That precedent certainly had consequences for the ones who were fingered, too. Meanwhile, Jeff Skilling remains living in a Colorado prison under the cloud of a 25-year prison sentence, partly because he was unwilling to emulate Buffett's behavior. Neither Warren Buffett nor David Sokol is a criminal. But neither is Jeff Skilling. What is criminal is a system that offers perverse incentives for risk-takers who generate jobs and wealth to finger others to protect themselves from the government's arbitrary exercise of its prosecutorial power.

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