For the price of a measly $20 billion, the government left JP Morgan Chase walk away from the responsibility of helping fuel the wreckage that became the global financial crisis--and, to boot, it paved the way, incomprehensibly, for Jamie Dimon to get a big fat pay raise(long live the American free market!!!). Now, an important suit by Better Markets has been filed to potentially undo the deal, or, at least, force a more honest, open discussion about what the government's cheap stay-out-of-jail, sock-it-to-the-customers actually says.
Not everyone was buying the P.R. gimmicks Dimon was throwing out at the gullible press and political world about what a great job he did that warranted the cheap deal and his subsequent pay raise. Better Markets correctly, and, in my view, courageously, referred to the bank as a "One Bank Crime Spree". Now, Better Markets has filed a lawsuit challenging the deal and the critical point is here:
And yet, according to a lawsuit that a nonprofit group filed against the Justice Department on Monday, the crucial details of the deal were for the government’s eyes only.[emphasis added]In other words, the Administration is hiding details from the public--the very public which has had to bear the cost of the behavior of JP Morgan, Dimon and the rest of the pirates on Wall Street, whether those costs were lost jobs, obliterated savings and, now, the cost of the settlement which will be passed on to consumers.
The Justice Department, the lawsuit notes, “did not disclose the identity of a single JPMorgan Chase executive, officer or employee, no matter how involved in or responsible for the illegal conduct.”Better Markets had warned last year that any deal with JP Morgan had to be transparent, writing to Attorney General Eric Holder that a full accounting of any deal would allow the people to “…decide for themselves if the settlement is just another sweetheart deal for Wall Street or in fact an appropriate punishment for unprecedented and massive illegal and criminal conduct.” In the letter, Kelleher listed a whole series of documents and disclosures that Holder should release as part of any settlement.
Better Markets also highlighted some ambiguity about the breadth of the wrongdoing covered in the deal. One government document stated that the investigation spanned from 2005 and 2008, while another document refers to activity from 2005 to 2007.
“This contract was the product of negotiations conducted entirely in secret behind closed doors,” the lawsuit said. “No one other than those involved in those secret negotiations has any idea what JPMorgan Chase really did or got for its $13 billion because there was no judicial review or proceeding at all regarding this historic and unprecedented settlement.”
Essentially, this suit tries to expose what virtually no Democrat wants to talk about: enforcement is a joke, and the criminals have been let off the hook. Elizabeth Warren has pointed out, "I think this raises questions about whether our enforcement strategy is working or whether it's actually so bad that we're making it more likely for big banks to break the law."