On November 6, 2013, Better Markets sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging the Department of Justice to require comprehensive public disclosure of the details of JP Morgan Chase’s egregious and widespread illegal conduct in any settlement agreement.
From helping Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme and rigging electricity markets to fraudulently selling more than $33 billion in toxic mortgage securities and ripping off credit card customers, JP Morgan Chase is a virtual one-bank crime spree. The country’s largest bank has inflicted potentially hundreds of billions of dollars of damages. That’s why there are now 8 criminal investigations and dozens of other investigations and lawsuits into its worldwide operations. Better Markets has outlined the details of JPMorgan’s many lawsuits in a fact sheet.
Rather than throwing the book at JP Morgan Chase and its executives, the Department of Justice called off a press conference and stopped a lawsuit because the bank’s high profile, politically-connected CEO, Jamie Dimon, personally called the Attorney General and asked him to do so. Few, if any, Americans have the ability to even get the AG on the phone, much less the power to get him to stop from filing a lawsuit that would have revealed to the public the details of JP Morgan’s alleged illegal conduct. Dimon apparently wanted to keep all that information behind closed doors so the American people could never know what the bank and its officers did. It’s better for Dimon and JP Morgan to cut a secret deal with the Attorney General, conceal all the damaging information, leak some favorable information, and then spin whatever they agree on as a great deal for America.
That might be great for JP Morgan Chase and Dimon as well as for the AG and Department of Justice, which are struggling to rehabilitate their tarnished image for creating a double standard of justice that refuses and fails to enforce the law on Wall Street. Such a sweetheart settlement, regardless of the amount, would be an insult to the American people who have suffered so much from the high crime area that is Wall Street. The American people deserve to know not just the headlines, spin and PR of any settlement, but the details so they can decide for themselves if the settlement is just another sweetheart deal for Wall Street or in fact an appropriate punishment for unprecedented and massive illegal and criminal conduct.
If DOJ and AG Holder fail to do this, then they will be helping JP Morgan Chase conceal its illegal conduct from the American people. Worse, such action will tell the American people that their secret backroom deal could not withstand the scrutiny of the light of day. It will again prove that Wall Street gets away with breaking the law while Main Street gets the book thrown at it. This double standard, which the AG himself admitted, must end and now is the time. The American people and history will be watching what the AG and DOJ do here. Are they on the side of the American people or Wall Street? That is what is at stake in this settlement.
That is why Better Markets has written to the AG. The American people must be provided the comprehensive, specific information about all the matters being settled as set forth in the attached letter. They must be able to determine for themselves the validity of the glowing claims DOJ inevitably will be making about itself and the deal it cut. It is time for rhetoric to end and for facts to matter. It is time for the American people to be informed and to make informed judgments. It is time for the AG and the DOJ to stand firmly on the side of the American people, stand up for justice without fear or favor, and apply the law to Wall Street as it has always done to Main Street.