senate-banking-committee

Liberals rejoice, financial sector weeps: With her election to the Senate, Warren became one of the most powerful people in the country; now, she’s headed to one of the most powerful committees in the Senate. Financial regulation is Warren’s specialty; she helped oversee the distribution of TARP funds in 2009 and essentially created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We can’t imagine the bank lobby wanted her on this committee, but then again, there’s probably not much they could have done to prevent it. (Photo: AP) source

Elizabeth Warren To Take On The Fed After 46 Hours Of Secret Recordings Prove Corruption

Elizabeth Warren To Take On The Fed After 46 Hours Of Secret Recordings Prove Corruption

Image via flickr.com/mdfriendofhillary

Forty-six hours of secretly recordedconversations and meetings within the Federal Reserve were released Friday. These recordings blatantly demonstrate that big banks are still in charge. Federal Reserve Bank Examiners continue to play the role of passive little lap dogs seeking approval from their masters. They fear offending Daddy Warbucks and his army of…

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When Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren gave her victory speech on election night at a party where loudspeakers blared “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” she pledged to “hold the big guys accountable.” Now, some bankers, their lobbyists and their Republican allies on the Senate banking committee reportedly would like nothing better than to keep Ms. Warren off the powerful bank panel — where she could do the most harm to the status quo, and the most good for the country.

Apparently, Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald and Matt Stoller and Howie Klein and I aren’t the only hippies who believe HSBC should be treated like any other legal person who helped drug gangs and terrorists launder money.

Both Chuck Grassley and Jeff Merkley have written Eric Holder letters complaining about this treatment.

Here’s Grassley (who, as he notes elsewhere in the letter, is the Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee and has demanded a briefing):

I write today to express my continuing disappointment with the enforcement policies of the Department of Justice (Department). On December 12, 2012, the Department entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with HSBC, a global bank that has now admitted to violating federal laws designed to prevent drug lords and terrorists from laundering money in the United States. While the Department has publicly congratulated itself for this settlement, the truth is that the Department has refused to prosecute any individual employees or the bank responsible for these crimes. This troubling lack of real enforcement will have consequences for the health of our economy and the safety and prosperity of the American people.

[snip]

In spite of this egregious criminal conduct, the DPA fails in finding the proper punishment for the bank or its employees. Under its terms, the DPA obligates HSBC to pay $1.92 billion to the federal government, improve its internal AML controls, and submit to the oversight of an outside monitor for five years. Despite the fact that this is a “record” settlement, for a bank as gigantic as HSBC this is hardly even a slap on the wrist. It only amounts to between 9 and 11% of HBSC’s profits last year alone, and is a bare fraction of the sums left unmonitored.

[snip]

Even more concerning is the fact that the individuals responsible for these failures are not being held accountable. The Department has not prosecuted a single employee of HSBC—no executives, no directors, no AML compliance staff members, no one. By allowing these individuals to walk away without any real punishment, the Department is declaring that crime actually does pay. Functionally, HSBC has quite literally purchased a get-out-of-jail-free card for its employees for the price of $1.92 billion dollars.

[snip]

Past settlements with large banks prove that they do nothing to change what appears to be a culture of noncompliance for some businesses.According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, jail time is served by over 96 percent of persons that plead or are found guilty of drug trafficking, 80 percent of those that plead or are found guilty of money laundering, and 63 percent of those caught in possession of drugs.[6] As the deferred prosecution agreement appears now to be the corporate equivalent of acknowledging guilt, the best way for a guilty party to avoid jail time may be to ensure that the party is or is employed by a globally significant bank In March 2010, the Department arranged a then-record $160 million deferred prosecution agreement with Wachovia based on its laundering of more than $110 million from Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. Officials at the time stated that “blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations.” In this case, a bank escaped with a record monetary settlement and a conspicuous absence of individuals behind bars. If the story sounds eerily similar, that’s because it is. It happened again with HSBC. [ew emphasis]

And here’s Merkley (who is on the Senate Banking Committee):

I do not take a position on the merits of this or any other individual case, but I am deeply concerned that four years after the financial crisis, the Department appears to have firmly set the precedent that no bank, bank employee, or bank executive can be prosecuted even for serious criminal actions if that bank is a large, systemically important financial institution. This “too big to jail” approach to law enforcement, which deeply offends the public’s sense of justice, effectively vitiates the law as written by Congress. Had Congress wished to declare that violations of money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and a number of other illicit financial actions would only constitute civil violations, it could have done so. It did not.

[snip]

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, jail time is served by over 96 percent of persons that plead or are found guilty of drug trafficking, 80 percent of those that plead or are found guilty of money laundering, and 63 percent of those caught in possession of drugs.[6] As the deferred prosecution agreement appears now to be the corporate equivalent of acknowledging guilt, the best way for a guilty party to avoid jail time may be to ensure that the party is or is employed by a globally significant bank. [ew emphasis]

Note, unlike Lanny Breuer, both Senators mention terrorism (though Merkley seems unaware how serious HSBC’s ties to Islamic terrorist financing are).

More importantly, they sound like the rest of us dirty hippies, making the audacious argument that banks ought to be subject to laws.

Elizabeth Warren Wins Senate Banking Committee Seat

Okay, some things are just meant to be and this is one of them! Great news!!

Nearly two years after Wall Street waged a successful campaign to keep consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren from running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the incoming senator will be tapped to serve on the Banking Committee, according to four sources familiar with the situation. It’s a victory for progressives who battled to win her a seat on the panel that oversees the implementation of Dodd-Frank and other banking regulations.

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Video of the morning: As JPMorgan Chase head Jamie Dimon was getting grilled in front of the Senate Banking Committee, a bunch of liberal activists showed up, shouting “STOP FORECLOSURES NOW!” (among other things) before getting kicked out. In case you’d like to watch this ongoing event, click over here.

If you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good that you’re going to go to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night. Every single individual associated with this. I just think that’s fundamentally wrong.
—  Elizabeth Warren, Senate Banking Committee Hearing- Bank Money Laundering (beginning at 7:05) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cKTBy7_S_I&feature=youtu.be

Nearly two years after Wall Street waged a successful campaign to keep consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren from running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the incoming senator will be tapped to serve on the Banking Committee, according to four sources familiar with the situation. It’s a victory for progressives who battled to win her a seat on the panel that oversees the implementation of Dodd-Frank and other banking regulations.

Warren knocked out Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts in the most expensive Senate contest of 2012, with Wall Street spending heavily to beat Warren, a former Harvard law professor.

Sources also told HuffPost that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will be named to the panel.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) is set to release a draft bill Tuesday taking the biggest crack at changing financial regulations since the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. Here is the skinny on a number of its provisions related to financial-sector rules, according to Republican aides on the committee.

Namely, the bill raises the asset threshold for automatically declaring banks “systemically important” from $50 billion to $500 billion.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts had a straightforward question for them: When was the last time you took a Wall Street bank to trial? It was a harder question than it seemed. “We do not have to bring people to trial,” Thomas Curry, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, assured Warren, declaring that his agency had secured a large number of “consent orders,” or settlements. “I appreciate that you say you don’t have to bring them to trial. My question is, when did you bring them to trial?” she responded. “We have not had to do it as a practical matter to achieve our supervisory goals,” Curry offered. Warren turned to Elisse Walter, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who said that the agency weighs how much it can extract from a bank without taking it to court against the cost of going to trial. “I appreciate that. That’s what everybody does,” said Warren, a former Harvard law professor. “Can you identify the last time when you took the Wall Street banks to trial?”
— 

Elizabeth Warren Embarrasses Hapless Bank Regulators At First Hearing: Huffington Post. Video at the link.

This is quite nice.

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Elizabeth Warren’s first Senate Banking Committee hearing, today (February 14, 2013)

Bibi’s Bad Day

It’s no state secret that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers a nuclear-armed Iran an “existential threat” to the nation of Israel.

In a 2010 speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu unfolded a simple “visual aid.”

“This is a bomb,” he said, pointing to a drawing on a cardboard bi-fold.

“This is a fuse. In the case of Iran’s nuclear plan to build a bomb, this bomb has to…

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Warren to Israel

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Politico reperts at Senater Elizabeth Warre is makin: … hern furst trip abroad as a senater.  She will be goin ta Israel, which: … gif’ t'impertance o'U.S.-Israeli relayshuns … wuz bound ta stoke speculashun about a potenshul 2016 presidenshul bid. T' librul favert has insistid at she is na…

The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim is reporting that sources have told him that Warren has secured a key committee assignment.

Nearly two years after Wall Street waged a successful campaign to keep consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren from running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the incoming senator will be tapped to serve on the Banking Committee, according to four sources familiar with the situation. It’s a victory for progressives who battled to win her a seat on the panel that oversees the implementation of Dodd-Frank and other banking regulations.

Please sign this thank you to Sen. Harry Reid for helping to make this happen.

A new article has been published on www.NewsDetector.com

A new article has been published on http://www.newsdetector.com

Warren to Israel

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Politico reports that Senator Elizabeth Warren is making: … her first trip abroad as a senator.  She will be going to Israel, which: … given the importance of U.S.-Israeli relations … was bound to stoke speculation about a potential 2016 presidential bid. The liberal favorite has insisted t…

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Senator Elizabeth Warren asks US Treasury officials if they believe individuals from HSBC should be criminally prosecuted after the bank laundered billions of dollars for international drug cartels.

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This is certainly grand-standing of the highest order—but it’s also grand-standing at a moment when there’s some utility and message behind the gesture.

Good on Senator Warren.

“Too Big to Fail has become Too Big for Trial” (by Senator Elizabeth Warren)