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July 8, 2014

Better Markets Urges Court to Reject Sweeping Justice Dept. Power Grab in JPMorgan Deal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Washington, D.C., July 8, 2014 – Pushing forward with its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for granting blanket immunity to JP Morgan Chase in an historic settlement without any judicial review, Better Markets filed a legal brief in court arguing that the American people have a right to know what JP Morgan Chase did in contributing to the worst financial crash since 1929 and the worst economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Better Markets President and CEO, Dennis Kelleher, issued the following statement today:

“The American system of government is based on constitutional checks and balances, as well as on transparency, so the American people can be informed and hold their government and elected officials accountable.

“The Justice Department’s mostly secret actions in granting the biggest, richest, most politically well-connected bank in the US blanket civil immunity for years of widespread illegal conduct violates those principles, the Constitution and our laws. The Executive Branch through the DOJ simply cannot, on its own and without any review or approval by anyone, including the courts, cut such an historic deal and leave the American people in the dark.

“Given the government’s claims to finally be bringing some accountability to Wall Street, citizens are entitled to know the key facts related to this case so they judge for themselves, and to have an independent branch of government, the judiciary, evaluate the settlement to determine if it is in fact fair and in the public interest. The trust, confidence and faith of the American people in their institutions of government are at stake in this case.”

On February 10, 2014, Better Markets filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the Justice Department’s authority to enter into its $13 billion settlement agreement with JP Morgan Chase without meaningful transparency or accountability.  It was the largest settlement with a single entity in the nation’s 237 year history by more than 300 percent. The settlement agreement gave JP Morgan Chase broad civil immunity for years of alleged systemic illegal conduct that contributed to the 2008 financial crash and the worst economy since the Great Depression. In May of this year, the Justice Department filed a motion with the court to have Better Markets’ case dismissed, which this filing opposed.

The text of Better Markets’ full preliminary statement and court brief is attached as a PDF to this release:

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Better Markets is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes the public interest in financial reform in the domestic and global capital and commodity markets. Better Markets advocates for transparency, oversight and accountability with the goal of a stronger, safer financial system that is less prone to crisis and failure thereby eliminating or minimizing the need for more taxpayer funded bailouts. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

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