The Case Against Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt’s Second Jet

This foundational principle bears repeating: Legality is not the same morality. It is perfectly illegal to jaywalk across an intersection during a moment when there is no traffic, but it is not an act of immorality to do so. Likewise, it may be perfectly legal to curse at your grandmother, but absent an extraordinary context, it would be immoral to do so.

This distinction—that some immoral acts may be legal—has become relevant again upon encountering the Wall Street Journal news item that former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt frequently obtained a second jet plane to follow him as he met with government officials and other business leaders to secure GE contracts and evade anti-trust punishments during mergers. The latest development in this storyline is that Immelt did not seek the approval nor provide notice of the arrangement to the GE Board of Directors.

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