Tuesday, May 08, 2012

And What of the Banksters?

Peter Schweitzer of "Throw Them All Out" fame asks a question.

....The SEC has accused a number of banks including JP Morgan, Wachovia Securities, UBS,  and Bank of America, of “fraudulently” rigging municipal bond auctions by “entering into secret arrangements with bidding agents to get an illegal ‘last look’ at competitors’ bids.”  And they won bids because “the bidding agent deliberately obtained non-winning bids from other provides,  and it facilitated bids rigged for others to win by deliberately submitting non-winning bids.”   All of these investment houses faced civil charges and paid fines.  Meanwhile those fixing [homeowners' association] elections or residential foreclosure auctions go to jail.

Why these two levels of justice? Could this disparity simply be a case that the big banks will fight charges more aggressively, thus making criminal prosecutions more difficult?  Maybe.   But it also undoubtedly has something to do with the fact that the top leadership at DOJ is drawn almost exclusively from White Collar Criminal Defense Practices at large firms that represent the very firms that Justice is supposed to be investigating. Covington and Burling,  the firm from which both Attorney General Eric Holder and Associate Attorney General and head of the criminal division Lanny Breuer hail, has as its current clients Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, ING, Morgan Stanley,  UBS,  and MF Global among others. Other top Justice officials have similar connections through their firms.

Couldn't possibly happen in Holder's operation, could it?  /sarcasm

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