Category Archives: Regulations and regulators

IBM Lobbyist Planted Question From USTR Official at a 2013 Public Hearing

A couple weeks back, the Electronic Frontier Foundation released 124 pages of emails obtained in a FOIA request, asking for any communications between officials at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and corporate lobbyists. The emails are mostly requests to set up meetings or share information between USTR leadership and representatives from either trade associations (The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Telecommunications Industry Association, Coalition of Services Industries, etc) or corporations directly (Cigna, General Electric, Liberty Mutual Insurance, MasterCard, AT&T, etc).

But Steve Stewart, Director of Market Access and Trade for IBM Governmental Programs – in other words, IBM’s in-house lobbying shop – takes this relationship-building a step further. He enlisted USTR to help him get his company’s narrative out.


Why Are Fannie and Freddie Raising Their Foreclosure Timeline?

One of the major fallacies skillfully employed by the lending industry since the foreclosure crisis is that the meddling defense attorneys and pro se litigants were clogging the courts with their dilatory motions and challenges, unnecessarily prolonging the foreclosure process, creating neighborhood blight and costing homeowners billions in property values by preventing “market clearing.” This […]


Questus Global Capital Market, Scam Stock: an Update

Updating the bizarre story of Questus Global Capital Market, a New Brunswick-incorporated, GXG-listed, New-Zealand-FSP-brokered company of monstrously fraudulent aspect that had apparently ensnared a Malaysian billionaire, various US-based small businesses and retail investors, and a couple of princes from the royal families of Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.


Aguilar Proposes Transparency Fix for Broken SEC Waiver System

Since Kara Stein became a commissioner on the SEC, we’ve heard a lot about the agency’s waiver policy. Basically, if a financial institution commits a crime, the SEC has a series of automatic penalties that are “automatic” in name only, because the agency routinely waives the penalties. Stein’s outcry at this turn of events always makes people like Matt Levine, in his usual role of intentionally missing the point, completely befuddled, because the punishments wouldn’t fit the crimes, and banks would lose access to entire lines of business for some unrelated transgression, and that just wouldn’t be fair, now would it?

The point, of course, is that automatic penalties are either automatic or not. If the punishment of banning institutions from managing mutual funds or working with private companies to find investors, or forcing SEC approval for any stocks or bonds that the firm issues on its own behalf, is simply too harsh as a consequence of committing a crime, then the SEC can go ahead and eliminate the automatic trigger. But having them in place, and then routinely waiving them, makes a mockery of any sort of accountability whatsoever. I personally believe that having these penalties in place are a solid way to ensure compliance across business lines, with the only threat that matters – a threat to the pocketbook – in reserve. If it would be too costly for banks to break the law, well maybe they’ll be a little more careful. But I would rather just eliminate the penalties altogether than have the SEC bow and scrape to ensure that committing fraud doesn’t lead to anything bad happening to the perpetrator.


London Capital and the Bryan Cook – Thomas Yi Scam Spree, 2010 to 2015

Yves here. Richard Smith is on the trail of what looks to be his biggest international scam find ever, orders of magnitude larger than the usual below the radar single to low double digit million dollar/pound/euro operation that he has ferreted out in the past. And mind you, even though he focuses on the dubious […]