Category Archives: Legal

Bill Black: Lanny Breuer’s Defense of Not Prosecuting HSBC and its Officers

Bill Black shreds not simply Lanny Breuer’s lame justification for not prosecuting HSBC officers and employees, but also by implication, Loretta Lynch’s. And the Lynch nomination reveals the deadly confines of the two party system. Elizabeth Warren made a bold speech last week in which she called for far more fundamental bank reform. She also reaffirmed her criticism of the failure to lodge criminal charges against any major bank executives. Yet as a Senator, she can’t afford to buck the Lynch nomination, since she apparently feels it would cost her too much in terms of moving the other elements of her program forward. But isn’t this arguably the most important issue?


Presentation Shows Private Equity Investors Knowingly Sign Contracts With Waivers of Fiduciary Duty, Other Terms Stacked Against Them

We’ve pointed out that private equity investors, known in the trade as limited partners, enter into agreements with private equity firms that do a terrible job of protecting the investors’ interests. That sad reality is contrary to the urban legend propagated by the general partners, that the agreements are negotiated, that the limited partners are sophisticated and understand full well what they are getting into.

The evidence on the ground strongly suggests otherwise. Today, we’ll go through a document presented by a top lawyer for limited partners that shows how the general partners continue to skew the agreements even more in their favor, yet the outside legal guns fail to beat back these terms.


Bill Black: The Homophobic Law and the Indiana Governor Who Dares Not Speak Its Purpose

Since we ran a post yesterday on Indiana’s anti-gay law that is pretending not to be one, I thought that was plenty on this topic. However, when Bill Black sent me his brief legal analysis of the bill, I changed my mind. This legislation is a remarkably nasty piece of work. The trick is that the “religious” ground do not have to hew to any organized religion, giving the business owner or manager the right to claim any pet bias as part of his religion. If nothing else, it’s instructive to see how innocuous-seeming language can be anything but.


Joe Firestone: The New York Times Soft-Pedals the Dangers of the TPP

While the New York Times did a public service by joining Wikileaks in publishing a draft chapter of the TPP, the accompanying article is quite another matter. Joe Firestone has taken it upon himself toshred analyze it. The sad reality is that the Times is never going to oppose neoliberalism in a serious way.


Bill Black: The DOJ and the SEC Spurn their Ace in the Hole – Richard Bowen

This is the second post in a devastating series on why major banks and their executives got away with large-scale, systematic fraud in the runup to the crisis. Bill Black uses Citigroup whistleblower Richard Bowen as a case example of how derelict the DOJ and SEC were in the performance of their duties.

Here, Black describes how historically frauds and criminal conduct were pursued primarily by regulators and the FBI. However, not only were regulations were weakened, but the Bush Administration ended criminal referrals: “References to the criminal referral coordinators disappeared or were removed from the bank examiners’ manuals.” FBI staffing for white collar crime was cut drastically as the war on terror was given precedence.

That meant, as Black describes, whistleblowers became more important than ever as not just a source of information for civil and criminal prosecutions, but as key witnesses. Yet in many cases they are problematic. They are often disaffected former employees who call out the bad conduct they saw after they were terminated, or were so badly roughed up by their former employer for becoming an internal dissident that they were traumatized and don’t hold up well on the stand. Hence, as Black explains, the failure to take advantage of a stellar whistleblower like Richard Bowen. As Bowen put it, “Not only did they bury my testimony, they locked it up.”


Billl Black: The Lessons Richard Bowen’s FCIC Testimony Should Have Taught the Nation

Get a cup of coffee. This important post gives an in-depth analysis that helps explain how bad conduct was covered up or glossed over by the FCIC, and how much of the media fell in line with the official, sanitized story.