Thursday, October 27, 2011

ProPublica: Why the SEC won’t hunt the big dogs

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Finally, real talk about the government's failure to go after the financial crooks clogging the system. Will they go after any of Bank of America's top dogs? That remains to be seen.

Back when the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was doing its work, I would check in periodically with someone who worked there to find out how it was going.

"Good news!" my source would joke. "We got the guy who caused it."

That is the way I felt last week when the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had, well, agreed to a measly $285 million settlement with Citigroup over the bank having misled its own customers in selling an investment it created out of mortgage securities as the housing market was beginning its collapse.

In addition, the S.E.C. accused one person — a low-level banker. Hooray, we finally got the guy who caused the financial crisis! The Occupy Wall Street protestors can now go home.

After years of lengthy investigations into collateralized debt obligations, the mortgage securities at the heart of the financial crisis, the S.E.C. has brought civil actions against only two small-time bankers. But compared with the Justice Department, the S.E.C. is the second coming of Eliot Ness. No major investment banker has been brought up on criminal charges stemming from the financial crisis.

To understand why that is so pathetic and — worse — corrupting, we need to briefly review what went on in C.D.O.'s in the years before the crisis. By 2006, legions of Wall Street bankers had turned C.D.O.'s into vehicles for their own personal enrichment, at the expense of their customers.

Read the rest of this article, by Jesse Eisinger, at ProPublica.org.

Here, allow me to ruin the ending for you: "This seems to be our fate: our bankers took reckless risks, but our regulators take none."

Taken Sept. 25, 2008 at a Bailout Protest ... that obviously didnt work.
  • A. Golden
  • Taken Sept. 25, 2008 at a Bailout Protest ... that obviously didn't work.

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