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Federal prosecutions for financial institution fraud have been in a downward slide in the past 13 years according to a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. According to Justice Department data TRAC analyzed, there will be approximately 1,365 of these prosecutions filed in FY 2011, which is down 28.6 percent from 2006 and less than half what it was in 2001.

The graph in the report shows the 20 year trend, beginning with the last two years of George HW Bush's presidency. But if you extend the timeline back to 1986 (the earliest data TRAC has for this category of prosecution) as I've done in the chart below, you can see that the current levels are lower than they were even in 1986, in the midst of the Savings and Loan crisis.

More after the jump...


What do you think is the main reason prosecutions of financial industry fraud are down?

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Newly released data from the IRS show that only 15% of large financial services companies — those with $250 million or more in assets — were audited in 2008, compared with 64% of all other similar sized corporations. And when they were performed, these financial service audits appear to have been less thorough than those in other industries.

In addition, fewer of these audits were being performed by the IRS agency group with special expertise in large financial service corporations, while the number performed by other IRS groups more than doubled since 2004.

You can get the background and data tables in the full report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Some highlights below the fold:

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Tue Jun 19, 2007 at 05:02 AM PDT

Cheers and Jeers: Substitute Tuesday

by redlami

Good morning! This being only my second authorized stint as a Cheers and Jeers replacement host, I find it helpful to ease in with some late-night snark because (1) it's something I didn't have to write, and (2) lorem ipsum has blocked me from their site for copyright violations...

"Joint Chiefs of Staff [Chair] Peter Pace is leaving his job. He's the one who announced that all homosexual acts are immoral, and so is adultery. No wonder he left. He attacked all the members of Congress."
--Jay Leno

"Undaunted by the protesters, the leaders focused on finding consensus over global warming. And by 'consensus,' we mean getting Bush to agree with the other seven."
--Jon Stewart, on the G8 Summit

"Paris Hilton is behind bars, but still no word on Osama."
--David Letterman

"Cheney is having an operation on his heart this week. Talk about microsurgery."
--Jay Leno

From the steamy hot wastelands that are Central New York on the brink of summer, this is today's host redlami, answering the eternal and ungrammatical question, what time does Cheers and Jeers start? [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]


What do you think of NASCAR?

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Wed May 30, 2007 at 09:41 AM PDT

Big surprise: DHS not fighting terror

by redlami

The new report on DHS Immigration Enforcement by TRAC has gotten extensive coverage by the traditional news media, including CNN, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Time and US News and World Report. It's also been picked up in the blogosphere, by Bruce Shneier and others.

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Thu Apr 19, 2007 at 05:17 AM PDT

Autobiography of a Pistol

by redlami

This morning I got an email from a songwriter whose music I like. I get a lot of these: I sign up on these lists so I find out about new tour dates, new CDs, what's going on in their lives. In folk music circles, you tend to feel personal connections to the artists, and the internet makes that a lot easier.

But the email I got this morning from Ellis Paul wasn't mainly about selling CDs. It was about the concern of a parent in Virginia for the lives of his children in a society where violence is glorified and guns are sometimes ridiculously easy to obtain. And it's not something he's only recently thought about; in the email he offered a song of his for free download and sharing: Autobiography of a Pistol. Here's a bit of the lyrics:

Would you believe I've seen better days?
I starred in westerns and won rave reviews.
Now I sit on a shelf, tagged for judgment day.
I've got to change the jury's point of view.
You see, guns don't kill people,
It's the bullets that do.

Ellis' email message is below the fold:

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Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 05:23 PM PST

Replacements (lyrical meta)

by redlami

You've probably heard of Bill in Portland Maine, creator of the DailyKos community known as Cheers and Jeers. And you may have noticed that Cheers and Jeers has been missing from the front page, owing to Bill's unexplained disappearance vacation. But did you know that PoliSigh has assembled a dedicated group of tireless, selfless, occasionally senseless volunteers to staff the kiddie pool in Bill's absence? The trick is that to find the replacement editions (like this one), you have to look in the diary list, because for some reason Bill didn't trust anyone with his password.

Anyway, today I composed this ode in recognition of all who have been supplying the little metaphorical paper umbrellas to accompany the rum and coke of our daily existence. With apologies to Elvis Costello, I present (to the tune of The Imposter)...

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This Friday substitute edition Cheers and Jeers is dedicated to our founder, Bill in Portland Maine, who has vacated the premises for Key West (high today 75°, chance of precipitation 10%). For Bill and his entourage I offer this helpful wisdom from the 13th century snarkmaster Rumi:

I swallowed
some of the Beloved's sweet wine,
and now I am ill.
My body aches,
my fever is high.
They called in the Doctor and he said,
drink this tea!
Ok, time to drink this tea.
Take these pills!
Ok, time to take these pills.
The Doctor said,
get rid of the sweet wine of his lips!
Ok, time to get rid of the doctor.

From the icy wastelands that are Central New York, this is today's host redlami, answering the eternal and ungrammatical question, what time does Cheers and Jeers start? [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]


Which movie do you think will win Best Picture at the Oscars this year?

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Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 06:08 AM PST

IRS Goes Easier on Biggest Corporations

by redlami

irsauditratesWhen called on the facts that they're conducting fewer audits of large companies (assets over $250 million), and spending less time when they do, the IRS disagrees that it's giving the big boys a break.

The facts, contained in a new TRAC report and covered in the NY Times and elsewhere, are that the IRS has reduced the time spent on each audit by 21 percent in the last five years, to 958 hours from 1,210 hours. At the same time, the number of actual audits, which had increased in the last two years, has fallen back to the level of 2002.

(Keep in mind that companies of this size, while filing only 0.2% of all corporate returns, control 90% of all corporate assets and receive 87% of all corporate income, according to data from an earlier TRAC report.)


Is the IRS going easier on big corporations?

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I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere on DailyKos. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court struck down a lower court ruling that would have made it much easier for the Administration to harass and deport legal immigrants. As reported in the NYT:

The Supreme Court rejected the government's interpretation of immigration law on Tuesday, ruling that a noncitizen is not subject to mandatory deportation for a drug crime that, while a felony in the state where the crime was prosecuted, is only a misdemeanor under federal law.

The 8-to-1 decision restored to one category of immigrants, caught in the nearly impenetrable maze where immigration law and criminal law meet, the ability to avoid automatic deportation and the other dire consequences of being guilty of an "aggravated felony."

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I want my, I want my, I want my C-n-J

Jeers to waiting for the kiddie pool to open, and to my poor, sore refresh finger this morning. I actually managed to comment in a few diaries, read all of DarkSyde's Science Friday story and figure out plf515's gerrymander graphs while I was waiting. And the words The 80% Solution are now burned into my retinas. As is John Yarmuth's smile. And...

Oh the heck with it. I'm posting my own Cheers and Jeers here and getting back to work.

Update: This is NOT Cheers and Jeers or a sanctioned substitute. It's just my diary.  Posting here won't get you any special mojo or the attention of the kool kidz.


How long did you wait for Cheers and Jeers?

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Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:17 AM PST

Trust but Verify

by redlami

"Trust but verify" is the motto of Susan B. Long, my boss and  co-director at TRAC, where for years we have filled the role of independent watchdogs of the federal government, looking at prosecutions, staffing and spending.

One thing we've learned in our years of analysis of data wrenched from the government through the FOIA (sometimes with the added assistance of a court order) is that no administration, Democratic or Republican, likes to have the analysis of actual facts interfere with its message.

So while I'm thrilled about Democratic wins, I know that after we get past the hangover and the honeymoon, our job as progressive bloggers will be to keep reminding them why we voted for them and what we expect them to be doing.


Too much of this kind of diary?

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The following are based on the FBI New Findings released today by TRAC

Staffing is up...


Particularly intelligence staffing (you know, the people looking for the terrorists)


Below the fold, we'll see what is the FBI doing with all this extra staffing.

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