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View Diary: The Obama Administration Protection of Wall Street Criminals - A Possible Explanation (326 comments)

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  •  I gave up on him a long time ago on this issue. (20+ / 0-)

    Best sources: Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism, Bill Black at New Economic Perspectives for coverage over time.  Also: Matt Taibbi, Neil Barofsky, Jeff Connaughton.

    Here is Connaughton:

    Long silent and now contradictory, President Obama needs to deliver a clarifying speech about our financial markets and the rule of law. Speaking in Kansas on December 6, he said, "Too often, we've seen Wall Street firms violating major anti-fraud laws because the penalties are too weak and there's no price for being a repeat offender." Just five days later on 60 Minutes, he said, "Some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street wasn't illegal." Which is it? Have there been no prosecutions because Wall Street acted legally (albeit unethically)? Or did Wall Street repeatedly violate major anti-fraud laws (and should thus find itself in the dock)?

    The President is confusing "legal" with "difficult to prosecute successfully."

    Black:
    The Obama and Bush administrations have consistently failed to “pursu[e] any and all leads.” Let us count the ways DOJ has typically failed to pursue leads against the elite officers whose frauds drove this crisis: they have not used grand juries, they have not issued civil subpoenas, they have not used electronic surveillance, they have not used undercover investigators, they have not “wired” cooperating witnesses who they have “flipped”, they have not appealed for whistleblowers to come forward, they have not called elite witnesses before grand juries, they have not convened grand juries, they have not sent FBI agents to their homes or offices to conduct formal interviews, they have not retained expert witnesses or consultants with expertise in accounting control fraud, they have not demanded that the banking regulatory agencies produce high quality criminal referrals, they have not asked those agencies to “detail” examiners and other skilled staff to the FBI to serve as internal experts, they have not trained AUSAs, special agents, and banking regulators in how to detect, investigate and prosecute accounting control frauds, they have not prosecuted where other federal agencies, after investigation, have charged that financial elites committed fraud, and they have not flipped intermediate officers and gone up the chain of command, they have not assigned remotely adequate staff to investigate and prosecute frauds, they have not assigned any meaningful number of their staff to investigate the elite frauds, and they have not made strong, consistent demands that Congress fund adequate staff to end the ability of financial elites to commit fraud with impunity. Conversely, DOJ has assigned its inadequate staff almost exclusively to non-elite mortgage fraud, has formed a “partnership” with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) – the trade association of the “perps”, and has adopted the MBA’s absurd “definition” of mortgage fraud that implicitly defines accounting control fraud out of existence. How does Holder expect to get “leads” against elite frauds when he gets no criminal referrals from the banking regulatory agencies, “defines” the leading fraud perpetrators of mortgage fraud as the “victim” of mortgage fraud, conducts no credible investigation of elite frauds, takes no proactive steps to investigate (e.g., using undercover FBI investigations), makes no plea for whistleblowers to come forward with evidence on the elite frauds, and provides training for regulators, FBI agents, and AUSAs that implicitly denies the existence of accounting control fraud? I understand that he inherited a disaster and a disgrace from his predecessor, but he has made it worse.

    Collectively, the Bush and Obama administration have provided de facto impunity from the criminal laws for our largest financial firms and their elite officers who drove our crisis.

    Bill Black's piece is an epic smackdown of all the propaganda we have been fed about this.  I really recommend you read the whole thing.  About.

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