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Live Blogging JP Morgan Senate Hearing – a Rogue Institution on the Hot Seat

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Yves here. I wasn’t planning on liveblogging this hearing, but listing to the introductory remarks, the knives are really out for JPM. In all the post-crisis hearings I’ve watched, I’ve never seen such unanimity between the Democrats and the Republicans on the severity of the problem and the need for more regulation.

The committee made a point of having the ranking member, John McCain, take the fore in pre-hearing PR. And in the warm-up, McCain stressed how JPM completely disregarded risk limits, deceived federal regulators, and developed business model that depended assumption that the bank was too big to fail. Both McCain and Levin hammered on how the JPM illustrated much bigger problems about how JPM and other banks routinely gamed risk limits and used guaranteed deposits to gamble rather than support the real economy.

Ina Drew is up. She starts with a long, pious pontification about her long career and her sincerity. Her limited substantive claim is that she learned what went wrong from the media after she quit, that she was undermined by flawed VaR model and some members of London team failed to value positions properly. This is such bullshit I don’t know where to begin. The VaR model was implemented to finesse the risk limit breaches with regulators. The unit had (inappropriately) a pricing review function within the CIO. For Drew now to claim that she didn’t know what was happening is either a wild exaggeration or proof the bank was completely out of control and therefore made false Sarbanes Oxley certifications.

Levin starts with Drew with a March 20 report Drew made to the risk policy committee on how long or short the investment horizon of the SCP was. Under pressures, she concedes the horizon was short and it was traded actively, if not daily. He also points out that the position was mainly accumulated in the first quarter. She claims the main position was the main position was longer. Levin points out the growth from $51 to $150 billion was in 1Q 2012.

An an aside, Drew has a disconcerting little girl voice and is trying really hard to play dumb and make minimal concessions.

10:30 AM Drew reluctantly confirms that on Jan 31, OCC was told the MTM position was shrinking in 2012 when the position was rapidly increasing. She claims she didn’t know reports weren’t being sent to the OCC in February and March. She and Peter Weiland, the head of market risk for the CIO, claimed not to know who was supposed to make the reports.

10:40 AM McCain is going after Drew. Asks about that she could only “guesstime” the hedge, but she said didn’t know how the “macro hedges” were hedging the balance sheet but they were fluid. So she’s still trying to hold the line but is not at all convincing.

10:42 AM McCain now goes after CIO statement to the OCC that it planned to reduce position by nearly half and instead tripled it. She claimed they got permission to increase the size in 1Q and planned to reduce it over the rest of the year.

10:55 AM. The feed keeps dropping. Levin is grilling Weiland on how JPM was breaching one risk limit by 1000% and Weiland had at the time ignored the limit because the model was “outdated”. Levin is hammering on the fact that the model had been breached and ignored over the last 3 years, and yet models were supposed to be updated annually. The responses, needless to say, aren’t convincing.

11:05 AM. Further revelations that the VaR was nonsense. Even though the interviewees try contending the model was properly tested, it was in fact never backtested. So it was clearly put in place with insufficient testing, a sign that it was to allow for more risk-taking, and not to control risk.

11:45AM: Bad problems with live-feed, now working better. A couple of astonishing conversations. Levin tries pinning Ina Drew that she told the OCC that the losses on the trade were ~$570 million when the internal report on the prior Friday was $1.2 million. Drew’s face gets hard (an interesting contrast with her little girl voice) and she says it was her understanding that the OCC was getting daily reports. Levin looks quietly gobsmacked and says he’ll ask the OCC.

McCain has a go with the vice chairman, Braustein, on the failure to report to the OCC for two weeks. Cavanaugh says the information was  withheld because JPM was concerned that it was “confidential”. McCain says nicely that it is pretty remarkable (in more words than than that) that a regulated entity decides it can withhold information because it doesn’t feel like providing it and that most citizens and businesses don’t have that latitude. Plenty of skepticism re the OCC’s deference. He also grills Braustein whether anyone besides traders suffered consequences. Braustein says yes, gives bromides re pay reductions  but is not at all specific. McCain asks whether he suffered any consequences. Braustein says his pay was reduced about 50% in line with Dimon’s pay reduction. McCain asks what that means. He says his pay was cut from $9.5 million to $5.5 million. Gee, he might have had to cut back on his private jet timeshare.

1:15 PM: Levin is now grilling Weiland about transcripts of phone calls where Cavanaugh told a CIO member to stop sending objections to how the SPC position was being handled via e-mail. Braustein is unconvincingly trying to argue that his instructions were because the subordinate was wrong on the underlying policy, as opposed to leaving too much in the way of footprints.

2:15 PM. I’ll keep providing updates as I can, but this is not really working operationally. I’ve tried every feed source (the Senate site, CSpan, and Bloomberg) and the feed drops so often that I only get snippets and it’s extremely frustrating to follow. And since I never watch TV, the CSpan I can get on my TV isn’t showing these hearings. I have to apologize, but tech in getting in the way here.

2:30 PM This is juicy, but I lost it. The OCC noticed immediately that it wasn’t getting its daily report, and figured the first day it was a systems error. The second day it was on the case and was told there had been leaks of the information, they hadn’t figured out how, and they were “rethinking their distribution strategy”. The OCC wanted the reports restored and this led got escalated to Braustein (the vice chairman). Braustein said before Dimon that it had restored the report (as in was about to) and Dimon got angry and said it was his decision.

2:40 PM Waterhouse discusses a heated conversation that the London based OCC examiner had with Ina Drew where they were refusing to provide information and insisting that they had transparency internally, Dimon was aware of everything, and they didn’t need to provide new reports. Curry interjects and says the bank’s position was contrary to 200 years of regulation in the US, that the bank is required to disclosed its books and records to regulators.

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151 comments

    1. youthinasia

      What “long knives” are we talking about here? With very scant exception the members of this committee investigating massive fraud DID NOT EVEN MAKE AN APPEARANCE at the hearing? Congressional cowardice has reached epidemic proportions!

  1. ohmyheck

    “She claims she didn’t know reports weren’t being sent to the OCC in February and March. She and Peter Weiland, the head of market risk for the CIO, claimed not to know who was supposed to make the reports.”

    That HAS to be a violation of Sarbanes-Oxley. Come on!

    But having them pointing fingers at each other is fairly comical.

    1. Clive

      Yeah, like watching the illegitimate love child of Cruella De Ville and Little Orphan Annie… but as usual the eyes give it away. Cold, hard, ruthless eyes. Trying to play the “I’m innocent, I knew nothing, I did everything I should” act although unfortunately the innate arrogance and contempt glares out from behind the mask and through that squeaky voice.

      In that respect, Miss Ina Drew has replaced Violet Elizabeth Bott http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_William as my favourite fictional character.

      1. just me

        Violet Elizabeth Bott, lisping spoiled daughter of the local nouveau riche millionaire (whose companionship William reluctantly endures, to prevent her carrying out her threat “I’ll thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick”)

        Already anticipating response to anticipated Sternly Worded Letter from Levin.

        btw, Just William looks like Just Bradley Manning with brown hair. I love the cap.

  2. Systemic Disorder

    It is fun to watch a few masters of the universe squirm in the hot seat, but are we going to get theater or meaningful structural changes imposed on the banks? Alas, I think we already know the answer …

    1. DANNYBOY

      This whole “We’re looking into things” gets very old (after a century or two). I am not waiting for any corrective actions to be taken ANYTIME AT ALL by this government, by these banks, in this country.

      Does anyone think that I’m wrong about this?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think its like Ken Lay at Enron. The fascist/corporate element is composed of rats first and formost. When they aren’t under pressure, they don’t care.

        Bush had to act on Enron because he was never a popular guy or even an elected President.

        Now the Senators and Congressman are under pressure from their whole debt and budget fiasco and the state of the real economy among the electorate. Democratic voters are the real losers under the current regime, and Republicans love to kick allies of the President. I suspect electeds are looking for a sacrificial lamb to blame for the failure of the electeds to do their job.

        I sense something is up. There was a bizarre fluff piece about Mark Warner in the AP the other day. The basic gist was no one listens to Mark Warner as they discuss the debt and he has many sad days. His fluff piece seemed to be just shirking responsibility and what a dopey guy he is.

        1. mac

          You guys just don’t ever quit! Bush had to act as he was not an elected President. Give it up! He was. Find a new “wailing point”.
          Bush may or may not have done good or bad things but he was elected under our laws.
          Give it up!

          1. Westcoastliberal

            Mac, sorry but the facts don’t support your statement. As I recall the Supreme Court got involved in stopping the Florida recount which would have put Gore ahead. So it would have been President Gore instead of “W”. We most likely would be living in a different world today.
            And seriously with all the damage “W” and his buddies did to this country, I think you have a lot of nerve to complain about anyone bringing reality to the ever-present “now”.

          2. mac

            You may not understand theis but the Supreme Court is under our laws even in Florida. The entire event was done legally. GIve it up go back to reading move on.org.

          3. Roger Bigod

            “[T]he decision in the Florida election case may be ranked as the single most corrupt decision in Supreme Court history, because it is the only one that I know of where the majority justices decided as they did because of the personal identity and political affiliation of the litigants. This was cheating, and a violation of the judicial oath.”

            –Alan Dershowitz

          4. just me

            Was not elected.

            To quote a certain putrid US Atty:

            “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar.”

          5. different clue

            Bush was certainly not elected in 2000. He “may” have been elected in 2004. Kerry took a dive in order to prevent any deep study from being conducted on the election in Ohio.

            But Bush had Pelosi’s full and enthusiastic support, defense, and protection. “Impeachment is off the table.” So if Bush was good enough for the ever-so-progressive Democrat Pelosi, Bush should have been good enough for us.

          6. Hugh

            mac, you need to distinguish between legal and criminal. When the criminals write the laws and decide the court cases, you get the legalization of crime, but it is still crime.

            Bush v. Gore was a sanctioned coup. I say this without any illusions about Gore. His VP choice was the odious Joseph Lieberman and while neoliberalism and kleptocracy would have looked different under Gore, we still would have had both progressing in a Gore Administration.

          7. Zachary Smith

            *** but he was elected under our laws ***

            To be honest, I’d never expected to see this kind of crap ever again.

          8. Lambert Strether

            Well, Bush could be said to have been elected, given Gore’s caving in the face of election fraud, Bush v. Gore, etc. Certainly Bush was, by many, said to have been elected.

          9. skippy

            @ all above lol…. Bush has stitching up loose ends on Enron’s private jet (face time) whilst Gore was catching a cab and we know what he did next… snicker…

            Skippy… X-mas cards w/ see you in the White House… thingy… snort!

        2. White Fang sux! No Charlie McCarthy sux!

          Don’t be a partisan dupe. The permanent state installed CIA brat Bush in a bloodless coup, and the permanent state recruited, groomed and annointed Obama as the Dem candidate, and now runs him as an agent. Nobody gives a shit which crooked puppet ruler sucks worse.

          1. Westcoastliberal

            You and I know Cheney is still running things from “Site R”. It should be obvious to everyone by now but some people aren’t paying attention.

    2. jake chase

      FromMexico is always chiding me for not providing solutions, so let me help Congress and our Chief Executive solve this one:

      1. Reinstate Glass Steagall

      2. Eliminate Interstate Banking

      3. Eliminate Branch Banking- one bank one location

      4. Arrest every executive officer at Citi, BofA, JPM, WFC, also the other nine TBTF, the names of which I cannot think of. Charge them all with conspiracy to violate Sarbanes Oxley.

      5. Bring civil actions to recover every dime they received from their banks since 1999, including stock option gains, inasmuch as all of it represents proceeds of looting based upon phony financial reports.

      Which of these things does anyone suppose will happen?LOL.

        1. DANNYBOY

          I am constantly amazed that we don’t just see the reality of our lives and trust ourselves.

      1. rob

        I agree.
        Laws are there to control the population.
        Obviously ,our civil society needs them.And we really need them to be crafted better, and applied evenly.We need the examples to encourage trust of the system in children.
        But,As we get older and watch, we see the reality of a two/multi-tiered justice system.There is no purity.There is no truth.Just certain people/situations where “the full scope of the law” comes into play, and then there is the “priviliged”,position where you can do damn near anything, and get away with it…and still get paid millions of dollars…. so they can go on vacation an pontificate /insinuate the system is a meritocracy….and the little people should leave them alone”to do big boy things”.
        I think the law is practiced so as to allow people to aggrandize their ego’s.On the little stage, it is the local prosecutors who rail road people regularly, exercising their ego’s over others. On the big stage, all these prosecutors are the ones who are told to “stifle it”, while those with higher positions of authority exercise their ego’s over those they deem to be lesser.

    1. albrt

      I hope not. I hold them in contempt, and I don’t think I can stop.

      Although I have to admit, the Senate has issued this report and earlier reports that should have triggered prosecution. It is 100% on Holder and Obama that nothing has happened.

      1. just me

        Repeat:

        It is 100% on Holder and Obama that nothing has happened.

        Also Lanny Breuer and down. But I repeat.

  3. DANNYBOY

    Does anyone think that this Hearing Intended to Make it Appear Like We’re Looking Into Things is anything other than a Let’s Cover Our Asses With a Big To Do?

    1. diptherio

      It may be just that, but the law of unintended consequences may also lead to real change. Wasn’t it Henry Ford (America’s favorite anti-semite) who said, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”?

      More sunlight is always better than less, even if the ones directing that light are, by-and-large, self-interested…uh…people. [trying desperately to avoid ad hominem attacks]

      1. Laughing_Fascist

        Levin is the only one pursuing this. The other Senate committee members showed up so they copuld say they were there and then hopped on a plane outta washington.

        There is a reason the cameras are allowed in hearings only on condition that they not show a view of the empty committee panel.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            There are two answers. One is much of the press is and always has been nothing more than glorified stenographers dedicated to the protection of one political party and attacks on the other.

            The other issue is the media like the business world is now composed of idiots. Do you think Wolf Blitzer understands how the Federal Reserve works? Part of the problem is comm majors and journalism schools are on par with economics degrees and business schools when it comes to actual value, and the result is a media composed of people who know nothing except advanced rolodex sorting.

          1. JW

            Except that the camera routinely pulled back during breaks / pauses showing that it was just Levin sitting there. Also, the live feed is provided by the Senate recording service, so if that was in fact a rule it was being broken by their own service.

        1. Ms G

          @ justme

          The free press was far, far away from the action, preserving their Access so they could keep getting paid for their Access Journalism.

          :(

          1. Lambert Strether

            Oh, man, only Levin. That is so shameful.

            It’s just shameful as only Rand and Wyden on, ya know, shooting US citizens because The Leader thinks it would be a really good idea. I mean, after “nuanced” and “thoughtful” consideration.

    1. DANNYBOY

      What? Things are going his way. He is making things happen for his benefit. Bankers are making things happen for their benefit. Congressmen are making things happen for their benefit.

      Any question why things aren’t going our way?

    2. diptherio

      “The real truth of the matter is,as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson…”
      ~Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a letter to Colonel House, dated November 21, 1933.

      1. DANNYBOY

        After today’s hearing I cannot be assured that this trend will stop.

        Maybe something more effective will come along?

        What would that be?

  4. Dirtbagger

    Despite McCain’s constant angry and cranky demeanor, he is a good choice for grilling JPM. He has never forgotten how badly he got burned by Keating in the Lincoln S&L fraud.

    1. steelhead23

      Very astute. Hasn’t everyone noticed that the most adamantly anti-smoking folks I know are ex-smokers. It stands to reason that the most adamantly anti-swindlers would be ex-swindlers.

    2. jake chase

      McCain probably should have gone to prison, again. He was angry because he got caught with his hand out. His career path of marrying the richest women he can find makes that no longer necessary, and now he’s an elder statesman? The only difference between McCain and Bush is that McCain actually flew planes and got to be a hero by being shot down. He is the single biggest beneficiary of the VietNam fiasco. Well, somebody had to be.

  5. a

    NEED grass-roots movement to keep Levin from retiring in 2014. He is the only Senator who clearly understands CDS.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      We need a movement to get rid of Carl Levin. The growth of the security/defense state has happened under his watch. Occasionally, he says a nice thing, but we are cutting money for schools but are still paying for the F-35. Levin can’t be gone soon enough because people fall for his occasional bluster while he always manages to find a few more bucks for defense.

    2. rob

      Let Levin go.He has been around a long time.And hasn’t really done anything.It may be that he is “trying”..but really.So What?And I’m not sure of that either.It is most likely this whole event is staged , so as to pretend to be doing something.So nothing really has to be done..There are too many people out there, who “understand” what needs to be done…We don’t need all these old hats taking up space, who haven’t done anything yet.
      Besides, my bet is he will be lobbying for someone as soon as he is able.If he isn’t already.

  6. Laughing_Fascist

    Dimon: “Marks were made for the purpose of reducing our losses.”

    Levin better nail him down because he is weasling.

      1. gonzomarx

        “Hustlers of the world, there is one mark you cannot beat: the mark inside. ”

        ― William S. Burroughs

  7. Wat Tyler

    Hearings like this will further convince the plutocrats that elective government is a dangerous and unnecessary interference in the proper management of society by it’s betters. Expect super PACS to see contributions soar as a result. I always think back to the quote attributed to John Jay (founding Father, first Chief Justice, and Governor of New York) to the effect that “those who own the country ought to govern it”. Being called to task by “little people” and forced to explain their actions must be a massive insult to people like Dimon.

    “Let them eat cake”

    Jim

  8. Nordberg

    Would it be possible to name these people “Financial Terrorists” and throw them in Gitmo?

    1. DANNYBOY

      It is some contrast between government’s response to the threat they felt from foreigners and their protective attitude towards these criminals.

      Can I please have a different government, now that they’ve turned on me?

    2. John

      Why not? Didn’t they just renovate Gitmo?

      Should be nice enough now for the Wall Street Financial Terrorist Masters of the Universe.

  9. Consicence of a Conservative

    It’s interesting to see Democrats and Republicans united on ending too big to fail, which I find gratifying except it then begs the questin, “who are recipients and bought members of congress”? Teh banks are clearly lobbying and funding somebody?

    1. Clive

      I’m currently “Optimizing” my calorific intake for today so I can have this buttered crumpet with my cup of tea and not exceed my limit..

  10. Susan the other

    I keep hearing trader as traitor. And everytime they take a 5 minute break I see them all running away naked to the bathroom. What’s the matter with me?

  11. OMF

    An an aside, Drew has a disconcerting little girl voice and is trying really hard to play dumb and make minimal concessions.

    In a lot of respects, these people are juvinile boys and girls, playing at adult matters and doing a pretty awful job. In a lot of respects, they’re also pretty stupid when it comes to actually performing adequately.

    Juvenile and stupid — when it suits them of course.

  12. craazyman

    Sounds like a day made for xanax.

    I bet nobody has a clue what’s going on. Do they even know the equation for standard deviation? You’d think so, but I’d say there’s a reasonable chance they forgot it.

    And Pearson’s product momentum correlation co-efficient:
    Whoa that sucker is complicated! You can’t tell by looking at it that it ranges from -1 to 1 unless yer a idiot-savant.

    After a while it’s just marketing presentations, meetings and a hair ball the size of Uranus on a big butt.

    1. Bill Smith

      I follow the the CBI (Chained Buzz Index) and they’ve substituted 1 glass red wine, two saltine crackers, 2 beers, and 6 bong hits for the xanex. :)

      Bet the nest egg this AM on shorting volatility. Got a good feeling about it, mind and body, and the charts look great too. (for momo guys that great rich quick all the time)

      Had a little drawdown today, but that’s normal I guess, form the looks of a volatility chart. Nothing goes in a straight line all the way to zero.

      But then I got thinking about counter party risk. Was sort of wondering what happens when I hit my target sell at zero?

      Not sure about that, and was thinking ’bout hedging maybe. Do you know of any CDS product that guarantees counter parties when VIX hits zero?

      P.S. I read on the yahoo VIX thread that Soros went short the VIX – he’s really serious about saving the world! I know I can’t move the market myself – I’m just trying to ride the coattails of the big guys.

      thx for any suggestions you may have!

  13. tawal

    Panel 3, the sounds off. Frustrating…

    And why is the Curry there and not his predecessor, who had the whale blow up?!?

  14. timotheus

    Levin seems awfully soft on the OCC panel. And re the supposed “privacy” breach reasoning for not giving the OCC the reports, neither Levin nor McCain asked if this objection to reporting was ever put into writing. Is that not odd?? A huge bank stops providing reports, says casually, Oh we think you’ve got a leak, and no one wants to memo it? JPMCh doesn’t formalize its concerns, and OCC gets no commitment to restart the reports. Are OCC afraid of showing collusion with this sloppiness?

  15. Ms G

    Curry: We have plenty of staff.

    Curry: We weren’t paying attention to CIO because were focused on area we thought was risky – investment banking.

    If statement #2 is true, Curry is saying OCC is one-trick-pony (can’t walk and chew gum) and all of its staff gets put on a single trick at any given time. Putting this together with statement #1, I am wondering about Curry’s qualifications to head OCC, an agency (in theory), that would be expected to be able to do a few things at the same time …e.g., walk *and* chew gum.

    1. craazyman

      There’s probably a lot of very good people there in the research staff and examiner ranks. I know there used to be.

      It must be a demoralizing existence to have your conscience and professional craft regularly walked all over by ethical idiots determined to destroy the banking system for their vainglorious stupidity.

      1. Ms G

        I agree. A friend of mine’s dad was an examiner of bank trust departments at OCC until his group was eliminated (yes, eliminated) right around the time when bank dereg took off and the trust departments of the big banks gobbled up little trust banks all over the country and stuffed the trust money into crappy proprietary bank mutual funds with huge load fees etc.

        I know my friend’s dad and he is definitely one of those people who became an examiner not just as a “job” but took his job protecting the public very seriously.

        I believe that his re-deployment to “other areas” was something extremely difficult for him.

  16. Consicence of a Conservative

    Is Levin bringing in the auditor The head of JP Morgan’s risk committe?
    Where’s the adult supervision?

  17. Ms G

    Curry: We can’t consider anything a problem unless we have a “smoking gun” — either an email or a surreptitious recording.

    Wow! Why do you need any qualifications to do Curry’s (or any bank examiner’s) job if that’s the standard?!

    1. rob

      Even a “smoking gun”, isn’t enough.It just has to be cooled off before shoving it “under the carpet”…remember:
      the 2000 electric scandal, where enron and duke energy were caught shutting down electric producers, so the “market” could ride the wave of prices soaring….with traders and plant operators actually getting taped joking about “little old ladies falling down in the dark” and the trader saying they needed prodution to be down longer so as to make more money…..
      that smoking gun never came to be anything.
      Or the 2004 LPG energy shortage/manipulation when BP was again caught in a taped conversation “just seeing if they could manipulate an entire market by buying up the entire texas port?,supplies…and not allowing it to go to THIS market…..And being suprised at how easy and profitable it was…
      Another smoking gun, under a rug somewhere.
      then in 2005, when the oil refineries were raising gas prices… the memo’s from the big players which were sent throughout the nineties, which directed a planned “tightening” of supplies, to cause market volatility, which in turn caused the high prices and record profits, after the 50 or so refineries were taken off line,by the time of the spike….that is still going.
      Boy, If only a smoking gun was enough to get somewhere.

      1. Ms G

        Rob, you’re absolutely right. Did you read the link I posted today about the FERC vs CFTC ruling by a DC Court? You should — it’s exactly about how captured Gov is ensuring that Enron-style smoking guns can continue to go off and then be buried, while .01%=ers speculate on gas, electricity and oil to the devastation of the rest of us.

  18. Ms G

    Levin winds down. What a let down. He says goodbye with a plea to the OCC to get JPM back “on the straight and narrow.”

    ?!$#@@!!#

      1. Ms G

        Well, to be fair, Levin said to Curry that he predicts OCC’s job getting JPM on the straight and narrow will be a “tough” job. Sorry, I still feeling like this: &*#&!!% ^%@#%%^ ??!!$$%

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Its just par for the course for Levin. He’s one of the most prominent sacks of shit in the U.S. Senate. Like so many Democrats, he gives a good speech now and then and has some bluster, but on votes that matter, you can count on Levin to do the wrong thing.

      1. Ms G

        Sounds like NYC’s very own Chuck The Tool Schumer (except Chuck doesn’t even try to give a good populist speech every now and then). Blech.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its not even close. Carl Levin carried the water for the NDAA. The creep is a complete disgrace. At least Schumer didn’t take a leadership role on that particular abomination.

          1. LucyLulu

            True about NDAA, Levin is a war-hawk, but let’s not turn Levin’s value into a black or white issue based on unrelated positions. Comparing Levin to Schumer when it comes to the financial industry is like comparing McCain and Paul on defense. Recall that Schumer hails from NY. Schumer runs cover for the banks, just as Gillebrand does. Levin was responsible, IIRC, for the HSBC investigation and now this one on JPMorgan.

            While nobody has managed to bring the banks to heel, Levin is one of the handful (at most) of senators we have in terms of bringing sunlight to the problems. McCain has never been a big advocate but never resists an opportunity to grab some camera time. (Where is Ted Cruz with his idiotic comments a la Feinstein?) It’s too bad Levin is retiring in 2014. There are few members of Congress who are willing to stand up to the banks and resist the billions thrown at them by the financial lobbies and in campaign contributions.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Ah, this would have merit, but Levin has been an instrumental part of the massive growth of the defense industry over the last two decades despite the absence of a threat. The money spent on the F-35 or our wonderful mercenaries goes through Levin’s office. Levin is an utter disgrace.

            Remember Levin was during the Bush years the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He was being briefed on torture, secret prisons, the war effort and so forth.

        2. Ms G

          @NotTimothy. You are right in the main. But although Chuck The Tool may not be at the forefront of the War Hawkery as Levin is, he’s quite a bit involved in carrying water for America’s most powerful client state in the Middle East. That is not unrelated to the work Levin does.

  19. sierra7

    Didn’t catch the “live” broadcast this morning……But, what I’ve read on this site and some others leaves me rolling in the aisles!!!!!!!!!
    Almost like a “circle of Masters of the Universe each pointing the finger at the other……….”
    With all the “models” it seems that the bottom line hardly ever deals with the unknown factor: “human behavior”…….
    I don’t care how you extend the “unknown unknowns”…..you can never ultimately finess human behavior….
    That’s what makes this all fun!!!!!!!

  20. impermanence

    “…I’ve never seen such unanimity between the Democrats and the Republicans on the severity of the problem and the need for more regulation.”

    The degree of regulation necessary is directly proportional to the underlying fundemental corruption built-in.

    1. monday1929

      One thing jamie IS correct on: we DON’T need more regulation.
      Jamie can be jailed on existing laws against theft, murder, fraud……..

  21. Veri

    AIG was toasted. Lehman was allowed to fail. Bear Stearns was bought. And JPM may be on the chopping block.

    Last Wall Street Titan Standing? Goldman Sachs.

  22. Senator Bulltits

    Congress is the appendix of the government, a vestigial organ that gets attention only when it gets necrotic. This is just the sound it makes when it bursts. JPM is laughing at these impotent clowns. JPM’s criminal impunity is not absolute, but it’s way above a senators’ pay grade.

    1. Ms G

      ” … but it’s way above a senators’ pay grade.”

      Exactly. Especially since the Senators’ pay grade depends on the munificience of their clients, such as JP Morgan.

      Today, the US Government has CLIENTS, not CONSTITUENTS. That’s “clientage.”

    1. LucyLulu

      The million dollar question.

      And what’s happening with the FBI investigation that makes JPMorgan different from the other cases involving TBTF banks since the financial crisis? Traditionally at least, FBI investigations do not bode well in terms of outcomes, and the FBI almost immediately stepped in when the trading losses were first disclosed. Their investigation has gone on for almost a year now.

      If something does come of this though, can’t help but wonder why the change in policy. Did Jamie (and his charming and endearing ways???) piss off our dear leader?

    2. cwaltz

      My bet?

      The same thing that always happens. Nothing. Oh they’ll pontificate and shake their heads but at the end of the day they’ll declare they can’t do anything because it’s just too darn hard.

      It’s like Hollywood or Broadway only in DC. Lots of brilliant, dramatic acting, strong characters, a plot line but at the end of the day the set will shut down and things will go on just as they always do. We’re paying six figures for another set of actors because they sure as heck don’t represent the majority of us.

    3. charles leseau

      Undoubtedly anouther slap-on-the-wrist fine in the “-illions” so that it looks like they’re being tough on the banksters in the eyes of the average moron, whose attention is probably not on this anyway. Perhaps prosecution of a lower level functionary now that people are asking questions about criminality. Anyone big like Dimon will claim not to have known anything about the company they run.

      Isn’t that the script on this stuff?

    4. Ms G

      I would say to read these two tea leaves: (1) John Corzine and (2) the Josh Rosner piece detailing more than a decade of “ultimate” crimes by JPM leading up to … the present day.

  23. Anon Too

    In the slow wheels of justice and politics it’s good to get this on the record. At the very least it shows JPM they don’t have Congress as tightly wired as they would like.

  24. Montanamaven

    Larry Kudlow on CNBC is going nuts over this. The one woman is hinting coverup. Kudlow likes Jamie, but if he did wrong, the bank should go down and not be bailed out, he says. Ship is sinking. Will rats please exit thataway.

  25. Sagebrush

    Staged political theater. All I saw were dancing Washington D.C. and Wall Street puppets doing a bury them with B.S. extravaganza.

    If they were really going to do what they were elected to do. Dimon and company would be looking at a little time in the federal pen, and Congress would do something about reducing the size of these Zombie Wall Street Banks.

    1. lambert strether

      Levin was the only Democrat there. SHAME SHAME SHAME on the Democrats AND the Republicans:

      I’m watching hearing into the JP Morgan scandal on CSPAN3. Carl Levin seems to be the only Senator in attendance. He seems to know what he’s doing, but he really should have some help from other members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. John McCain was there earlier and asked one or two questions. That’s it.

      What an appalling spectacle. The Roman Senators return to their villas and boink a few slaves while the Republic dissolves into mist.

  26. diane

    Of course, if anything had been intended to be done about the stunning thieving going on we would see the scum at the top of the Big Four Oligarchy Audit [Accounting] (indeed) firms: PriceWaterhouseCoopers[& Lybrand], Delloite[[Mormon]Touché], Ernst Young, and KPMG (a deformed child of its deformed Grand Papa, Peat Marwick) doing daily perp walks for writing what are known as Going [they certainly are] Concern opinions on all of the obscene bailees; instead of receiving awards for legalizing Multinational Corporate Tax Evasion while billions of the law abiding, around the world, are shoved off of a cliff …with not so much as a hankie ….for a parachute, or tourniquet for their shattered bones.

    Though 2 plus years old now, the following linked piece displays the situation perfectly (be patient reading, it pertains to the US but doesn’t get to it until about midway):

    Francine McKenna, 11/28/10 – Big 4 Bombshell: “We Didn’t Fail Banks Because They Were Getting A Bailout”

    1. skippy

      Exactly! Who cares about Jamie… What were these guys doing?

      http://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/About-JPMC/board-of-directors.htm

      It’s not just Dimon’s fault, though. The board at J.P. Morgan has failed. Last year, the bank’s directors needed to act. And yet they stalled instead.

      The board has not taken a firm oversight role at the bank. Even this year, the board allowed the company to issue a Whale report without all the facts in full view.
      But J.P. Morgan’s board has not just failed on the Whale matter. Lee Raymond, presiding director, and the rest of the board have sat back, as boards too often do, throughout Dimon’s missteps and run-ins with legal authorities. They have allowed him to hold the reins of both the company and the board, as both CEO and chair. They have rewarded him for the Whale disaster with $11 million in compensation last year — and much more in years prior. – snip

      http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2013/03/15/jp-morgan-its-time-for-some-real-change/

      Timothy P. Flynn: Retired Chairman KPMG International, if this guy was clueless, well….

      Skippy… From the head down as they say… Jamie is just the sphincter mouth piece, which in this case, is provided for the senators colonoscopy, a good time was had by all!

      1. diane

        yup, and isn’t it just ‘priceless.’

        Timothy P. Flynn
        Mr. Flynn was Chairman of KPMG International from 2007 until his retirement in October 2011. KPMG International is a professional services organization which provides audit, tax and advisory services in 152 countries. KPMG International member firms have 145,000 professionals, including more than 8,000 partners in 152 countries, with combined revenues of $22.7 billion for fiscal year 2011. He was also Chairman (2005-2010) and Chief Executive Officer (2005-2008) of KPMG LLP, the U.S. and largest individual member firm of KPMG International. Mr. Flynn is a director of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.(since 2012).

  27. kimsarah

    I’m glad Drew got to testify for the record, with her seemingly Kenneth Lay responses — the buck stops anywhere but here:
    “For Drew now to claim that she didn’t know what was happening is either a wild exaggeration or proof the bank was completely out of control and therefore made false Sarbanes Oxley certifications
    Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/live-blogging-jp-morgan-senate-hearing-a-rogue-institution-on-the-hot-seat.html#8meP7kWCYiZqGYm3.99

  28. kimsarah

    A bit cynical, I know, but is it possible that Jamie and Ina designed for these trades to fail so that someone on the receiving end of the winning trades could make off with shareholder and investor money? And are the “winners” anyhow connected to anyone we know or should know?
    It just seems that the other reports bend over backwards giving JPM the benefit of the doubt in simply messing up, making mistakes, and accepting that it won’t happen again. What became of the FBI probe?

  29. TomDor

    No mention about tolling – let the prosecution clock run out – don’t pay attention to actual criminal prosecution until after the finish bell tolls – I think the bell tolls for we the people.

    John Donne (1572-1631), Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris:

    “Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.

  30. Anonymous

    WATCHING THE TESTIMONY OF DREW, BACON AND WEILAND: Why do I get the feeling that these management people were looking at models of reality and not at reality?

  31. TomDor

    The word is about, there’s something evolving
    Whatever may come, the world keeps revolving
    They say the next big thing is here
    That the revolution’s near
    But to me it seems quite clear
    That it’s all just a little bit of history repeating
    The newspapers shout a new style is growing
    But it don’t know if it’s coming or going
    There is fashion, there is fad
    Some is good, some is bad
    And the joke is rather sad
    That its all just a little bit of history repeating
    And I’ve seen it before

    And I’ll see it again
    Yes I’ve seen it before
    Just little bits of history repeating
    Some people don’t dance, if they don’t know who’s singing
    Why ask your head, it’s your hips that are swinging
    Life’s for us to enjoy
    Woman, man, girl and boy
    Feel the pain, feel the joy
    And side step the little bits of history repeating
    Just little bits of history repeating
    And I’ve seen it before
    And I’ll see it again
    Yes I’ve seen it before
    Just little bits of history repeating
    Songwriter(s): Alex Michael Gifford
    Copyright: Chrysalis Music Ltd

  32. Esohbe

    Banks are GSE’s and should be treated accoordingly. It is nonsense to pretend they are independent companies that take risk with no backup. It is time to regulate banks, and other corporate welfare recipients, like GSE’s.

  33. Bill C

    Two issues I have not seen addressed:
    1. What incents traders to make bad (risky)and overly large trades? I suspect it is their compensation plan, and should not these compensation plans be modified by law to penalize traders if at any time during the year they exceed their risk limits? Say, if they exceed risk limit at any time by 50%, their incentive paymnets be rudced to zero? If something isn’t done in this area these kinds of positions will continue.

    2. Even if JPM is and does change its policies and procedures, are they still not vulnerable to futire actions by a different eet of managers in the future? Even assuming Jamie Dimon walks on water ( which I don’t beleive) what if some one else with lower capabilities becomes CEO in the future? I question whther new P&P are adequate to protect in the future, even if we assume the currect managerial team on P&P are well intended. The list of JPM and Bank misdeeds is too long for me to have confidence that, given the size of rewards given to bankers, this will be fixed merely by P&P changes

  34. Fíréan

    Thank You, Senator Carl Levin.
    I watched the three recored sessions and though I wouldn’t doubt that there may have been questions not asked or matters over looked, I was impressed the senator’s knowledge of all the matters at hand,he’d dome his homework before hand,his well insistance on receiving answers to his questions, well . . .his whole presentation, ably assisted by his colleagues in the background.

    In my opinion McCain appeared more to be making an appearance, electioneering than serious questioning, with his “what do i tell the people back in Arizona line of questioning. Or maybe it was just the pretty lady seated behind him distracted my attention too often for the short duration McCain was there.

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