Elliot Peters on Lischewski Conviction of Participation in Canned Tuna Price Fixing

The economic data demonstrated that there was no harm to consumers and that canned tuna prices were not affected.  Under the judge-made “per se” rule, prosecutors can prove an anti-trust crime by proving the existence of an agreement, without actually proving that a single price was ever “fixed.”  After the conviction — while grandstanding and issuing press releases, the DOJ talks about “harm to consumers.”  They never offered a shred of proof of any such thing.  Indeed, they ran from that issue. The only proof in the case regarding economic data came from the defense offering a Yale economics professor who provided substantial data-driven evidence that there was no harm, that tuna prices fluctuated wildly since they were negotiated, not “fixed,”  that prices were, if anything, lower during this period than would have been expected based on historical relationships to cost, and that the tuna companies were all taking massive hits to their profitability during the so-called conspiracy.

But why should the DOJ allow facts (in the form of a mountain of economic data) to interfere with a righteous narrative and an opportunity for self-aggrandizement?