Scrooge Yellen: Why Does the Fed Chair Need to Speak at the Start of Memorial Day Weekend?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 27, 2016

Fed Chair Janet Yellen Speaking at University of Massachusetts-Amherst on September 24, 2015

Fed Chair Janet Yellen Speaking at University of Massachusetts-Amherst on September 24, 2015

Typically, the bond market would be closing at 2:00 p.m. today, leaving the stock market rudderless and thinly traded. Typically, tens of thousands of Wall Street traders would have nothing more taxing than visions of barbecues and beaches and beer dancing about in their heads and would be sprinting out of the office to the Hamptons or Fire Island or Montauk as soon as the bond market closes at 2 p.m. But today is not typical thanks to Scrooge Yellen who will be speaking around 1:15 p.m today. This fact is furrowing brows on Wall Street and forcing traders to hang around to see what market-moving nuggets might be dropped by the petite central banker in chief.

In reality, it’s Harvard that’s messing up the early holiday exodus on Wall Street. Harvard is giving Yellen the Radcliffe Medal for her “transformative impact on society.” (That likely means, “thank you Chair Yellen for using a melon scoop instead of an ice cream scoop to dish out rate hikes.”) Gregory Mankiw, an Economics Professor at Harvard, will interview Yellen on stage as part of the award presentation.

Hedge fund guys and high frequency traders have a nasty habit of hanging around to exploit market-moving news in thinly traded markets ahead of a holiday weekend. More market moving news came out at 8:30 a.m. this morning when the Commerce Department provided its second read on first quarter GDP, stating that it grew at a faster 0.8 percent annual rate versus its earlier calculation of 0.5 percent. Either of those numbers is bleak news for an economy that has been hovering at 2 percent GDP or lower since the Wall Street crash of 2008 and has effectively sentenced millions of job-seeking young adults and over-indebted college grads to be indefinitely bound to their parents’ homes for lack of an adequate income.

Yellen’s talk, limited though it may be, will follow “personal reflections” by former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, who immediately preceded Yellen as head of the Federal Reserve.

The comments from the current and former U.S. central bankers come just one day after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stunned economists worldwide with an article in its flagship magazine under the title: “Neoliberalism: Oversold?” which appeared to be hurling an insult directly at the U.S.

The word “neoliberalism” has increasingly become a pejorative term for a rigged economic model that churns out billionaires while leaving the world’s masses in poverty. Naomi Klein quickly Tweeted her take on the article, writing: “IMF admits neoliberalism is a failure. So all the billionaires it created are going to give back their money, right?”

Naomi Klein Tweet

The article, authored by lead writer, Jonathan Ostry, Deputy Director of the IMF’s research department, along with Prakash Loungani and Davide Furceri, sets up its own definition of neoliberalism this way:

“The neoliberal agenda—a label used more by critics than by the architects of the policies — rests on two main planks. The first is increased competition — achieved through deregulation and the opening up of domestic markets, including financial markets, to foreign competition. The second is a smaller role for the state, achieved through privatization and limits on the ability of governments to run fiscal deficits and accumulate debt.”

Let’s expand a little on that: what financial deregulation did for the U.S. was to create the largest economic catastrophe in 2008 since the Great Depression of the 1930s, leaving millions of Americans without jobs, wiping out their savings and costing them their homes. As Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders regularly reminds us:

“There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent;

“There is something profoundly wrong when 58 percent of all new income since the Wall Street crash has gone to the top one percent.”

(That, frankly, sounds more like an enforced looting system than an economic model. But we digress.)

The IMF article goes on to tiptoe delicately around the enormity of the failure of neoliberalism, writing:

  • “The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly difficult to establish when looking at a broad group of countries.
  • “The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal agenda.
  • “Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth. Even if growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects.”

The best way to understand what’s going on today is to watch the trailer for the Robert Reich documentary, “Inequality for All,” that we’ve embedded below. It’s not a coincidence that the two greatest periods of income inequality in America occurred in 1928 and 2007 – just on the eve of the two greatest Wall Street crashes in history: 1929 and 2008. In both periods, giant Wall Street banks were allowed by their regulators to suck in the savings deposits of the nation and use those deposits to wildly speculate in stocks and derivatives and drive the markets into an unsustainable bubble. The tricks used by the Wall Street insiders made them billionaires as the rest of the country paid the price. We are still paying the price as today’s GDP number makes clear.

When the history books look back on this era, the overarching and nagging question will be, what took Americans so long to wake up.

Inspector General Report Further Undermines New York Times Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 26, 2016 

Hillary Clinton at March 10, 2015 Press Conference Discussing Her Use of Private Email Server for Her Work While Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton at March 10, 2015 Press Conference Discussing Her Use of Private Email Server for Her Work While Secretary of State

The release of the State Department’s Inspector General report unequivocally shreds Hillary Clinton’s repeated public pronouncements that she had approval from the State Department to use a private email server in her home for all of her government work while she served as Secretary of State. In the video of her press conference on March 10, 2015 (see below), Hillary opens the subject of the private server with this statement:

“When I got to work as Secretary of State, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department.”

Before the video concludes, the former Secretary of State repeats two more times that she had approval for use of the private server. The Inspector General’s report now makes it crystal clear that this is yet another example of Hillary Clinton taking liberties with the truth. The report concludes:

“By Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the Department’s guidance was considerably more detailed and more sophisticated. Beginning in late 2005 and continuing through 2011, the Department revised the FAM [Foreign Affairs Manual] and issued various memoranda specifically discussing the obligation to use Department systems in most circumstances and identifying the risks of not doing so. Secretary Clinton’s cybersecurity practices accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives.

“Secretary Clinton used mobile devices to conduct official business using the personal email account on her private server extensively, as illustrated by the 55,000 pages of material making up the approximately 30,000 emails she provided to the Department in December 2014. Throughout Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the FAM stated that normal day-to-day operations should be conducted on an authorized AIS, yet OIG found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server. According to the current CIO and Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business with their offices, who in turn would have attempted to provide her with approved and secured means that met her business needs. However, according to these officials, DS and IRM did not—and would not—approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business, because of the restrictions in the FAM and the security risks in doing so.”

All of this is an embarrassment for both Hillary Clinton as well as the New York Times. On January 30 of this year, months before millions of Americans would have a chance to hear the inspirational message of Senator Bernie Sanders – a Presidential candidate with 25 years experience in Congress with no scandals dogging him – the New York Times editorial board endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Presidential nominee. The Times’ editorial referred to Hillary as “one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in modern history,” adding for good measure that “It’s not just that she’s done her homework, Mrs. Clinton has done her homework on pretty much any subject you’d care to name.”

The endorsement was so controversial that it elicited 5,705 comments and triggered a column by the public editor, Margaret Sullivan. Both the editorial board at the Times and the news reporters have since been walking back that magnanimous vote of confidence. Less than a month after the glowing endorsement, the editorial board compared Hillary to a “mischievous child,” writing:

“ ‘Everybody does it,’ is an excuse expected from a mischievous child, not a presidential candidate. But that is Hillary Clinton’s latest defense for making closed-door, richly paid speeches to big banks, which many middle-class Americans still blame for their economic pain, and then refusing to release the transcripts.”

The editorial board also responded to Hillary’s complaint earlier that week: “Why is there one standard for me, and not for everybody else?” The editors dryly noted: “The only different standard here is the one Mrs. Clinton set for herself, by personally earning $11 million in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 for 51 speeches to banks and other groups and industries.”

Also less than a month after its endorsement, news reporters at the New York Times presented a multi-media critique of Hillary’s lack of judgment and failure to do proper homework in Libya when she served as Secretary of State. As part of a lengthy, investigative piece, the Times ran a photo with the following caption: “The president was wary about intervening, but Mrs. Clinton was persuasive. In the end, the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi left Libya a failed state and a haven for terrorists.” The same caption offers a link to a video titled: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy in Libya. The video is a harsh indictment of Hillary Clinton’s actions as Secretary of State.

Today, the New York Times is further calling into question its editorial judgment that Hillary does her “homework on pretty much any subject you’d care to name.” Under a digital headline, “Emails Add to Hillary Clinton’s Central Problem: Voters Just Don’t Trust Her,” reporter Amy Chozick writes that “The Clinton campaign had hoped to use the coming weeks to do everything they could to shed that image and convince voters that Mrs. Clinton can be trusted. Instead, they must contend with a damaging new report by the State Department’s inspector general that Mrs. Clinton had not sought or received approval to use a private email server while she was secretary of state.”

Is it possible that the editorial board of the New York Times acted hastily in endorsing Hillary Clinton? Is it possible it failed to do its own homework?

‘Confidential’ Memo in the Hedge Fund Battle for Freddie and Fannie Comes Out of Hiding

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 25, 2016 

Hedge Fund Titan, John Paulson

Hedge Fund Titan, John Paulson

There’s a lurking memo among government documents concerning the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the 2008 financial collapse on Wall Street that undermines the raging media propaganda wars now taking place. But first some necessary background. 

Similar to Judith Miller’s shilling for the Iraq war in the pages of the New York Times, which spread like an uncontrolled virus to other media, hedge funds that hope to reap billions of dollars in windfall profits in the preferred and common stock of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which has continued to trade despite the government takeover, have set up a Machiavellian plot to get high-priced media real estate on board their scheme. Mainstream media as well as alternative media (that should know better) have taken the bait — hook, line and sinker.

Two writers at the Wall Street Journal have functioned as Diogenes in this churning sea of propaganda: John Carney and Joe Light. Carney has brilliantly and cogently explained why it “would take decades” to build adequate capital at Fannie and Freddie and set them free from the September 2008 conservatorship under which the U.S. government placed them in an effort to save the rest of the financial system. Joe Light has done yeoman’s work in laying bare the lengths to which hedge fund titans like John Paulson (already bathed in shame for his scurrilous acts with the vampire squid) are willing to go to push their greed agenda with Fannie and Freddie’s stock. See here and here.

Wall Street On Parade has also attempted to open the public’s eyes to the continuing dangerous exposure to derivatives at Fannie and Freddie and the Wall Street mega bank beneficiaries that continue to gorge on billions of dollars of payouts on these derivatives.

Yes, there are plenty of secrets the U.S. government is keeping from the public about Freddie and Fannie, just not the ones the hedge funds are trying to sell to the courts and an increasingly gullible media. Many of the hedge funds and other investors who have taken arguments to court that they are being treated unfairly by the government bought the Fannie and Freddie stocks after the share prices had collapsed and simply want to boost the stock prices with a propaganda war that offers hope they might achieve a court victory. That’s worked out pretty well so far.

Two days ago, Glen Bradford at Seeking Alpha wrote this:

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had their highest levels of capital in history as they were placed into conservatorship,” with the inference that they didn’t really need to be taken over by the government.

That statement compares with this finding from the official Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report, which refers to Freddie and Fannie as “GSEs,” that is, Government Sponsored Enterprises:

“The GSEs were highly leveraged—owning and guaranteeing $5.3 trillion of mortgages with capital of less than 2%…

“The value of risky loans and securities was swamping their reported capital. By the end of 2007, guaranteed and portfolio mortgages with FICO scores less than 660 exceeded reported capital at Fannie Mae by more than seven to one; Alt-A loans and securities, by more than six to one. Loans for which borrowers did not provide full documentation amounted to more than ten times reported capital…

“At the end of December 2007, Fannie reported that it had $44 billion of capital to absorb potential losses on $879 billion of assets and $2.2 trillion of guarantees on mortgage-backed securities; if losses exceeded 1.45%, it would be insolvent. Freddie would be insolvent if losses exceeded 1.7%. Moreover, there were serious questions about the validity of their ‘reported’ capital.”

Then there is the bombshell “confidential” memo which has been resting quietly in the exhibits of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). On Saturday, March 8, 2008, White House economist Jason Thomas sent U.S. Treasury Undersecretary, Robert Steel, a 12-page bombshell memorandum explaining in copious detail why Fannie Mae was engaging in “accounting fraud.”

Why is this memo a bombshell? Because Fannie Mae, precisely two months after this memo, issued billions of dollars of new preferred and common stock to the marketplace. We’re pretty sure there was no mention of “accounting fraud” in the offering memorandum. According to the press release at the time of the capital raising, Lehman Brothers, JPMorgan Securities and Citigroup Global Markets were joint book-running managers for the common stock while Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley acted as co-managers. JPMorgan Securities, Lehman Brothers and Banc of America Securities were joint book-running managers on the preferred stock.

Very likely, some or all of these banks needed to infuse additional capital into Fannie Mae to protect their own status as derivative counterparties to Fannie Mae.

Thomas makes the following points in his memo:

“Any realistic assessment of Fannie Mae’s capital position would show the company is currently insolvent. Accounting fraud has resulted in several asset categories (non-agency securities, deferred tax assets, low-income partnership investments) being overstated, while the guarantee obligation liability is understated. These accounting shenanigans add up to tens of billions of exaggerated net worth. Yet, the impact of a tsunami of mortgage defaults has yet to run through Fannie’s income statement and further annihilate its capital. Such grim results are a logical consequence of Fannie’s dual mandate to serve the housing market while maximizing shareholder returns. In trying to do both, Fannie has done neither well. With shareholder capital depleted, a government seizure of the company is inevitable…

“For shareholders, the company has failed to deliver despite the inherent advantages of a lower cost of funds and having larger market share in an impenetrable duopoly. Under Franklin Raines, the company developed an appetite for growth and imprudent speculation. Such risky behavior led to large losses on interest rate bets gone bad and accounting fraud to cover them up. After this was exposed, Fannie undertook a massive multi-year restatement under current CEO Mudd, a Raines protege. Just as the company has finally caught up with its financial reporting, details are emerging about the tremendous increase in credit risk that the company undertook in recent years. Fannie Mae fully participated in the mortgage industry’s fascination with exotic products, from subprime to Alt-A, interest only to negative amortization. What is all the more striking is that this dramatic deterioration in credit standards occurred even while the company was under the watchful eye of its regulator as it worked toward remediating its appalling business controls. Once again, the company is faced with large losses. Once again, the Fannie Mae management team, led by Dan Mudd, Michael Williams, Robert Levin, and Peter Niculescu, all veterans of the Raines era, has resorted to accounting fraud to delay loss recognition and dance around capital requirements.

“Lucrative executive compensation with no accountability to shareholders, it goes without saying, continues at Fannie Mae.”

 (See Wall Street On Parade’s saved copy of the Jason Thomas memo or the FCIC’s official copy of the memo here.)

Prior to the U.S. government takeover in 2008, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had experienced accounting scandals. Without the implied backing of the U.S. government, the GSE bonds which were sitting on the books of mega Wall Street banks, insurance companies, and pension plans across the nation, would have cratered in price, toppling more dominoes in a cascading financial crisis.

The same thing would happen today if Congress were crazy enough to recapitalize Fannie and Freddie and set them lose again as the hedge funds would like.

There is also the propaganda floating around that the government promised it would return Freddie and Fannie to health, thus dangling a carrot that common stock holders might be made whole in the future. Here’s the actual press statement that then U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson released in announcing the conservatorship. Note carefully this statement:

“Because the GSEs are in conservatorship, they will no longer be managed with a strategy to maximize common shareholder returns, a strategy which historically encouraged risk-taking.”

When hedge funds are allowed to pull levers behind a dark curtain to effectuate housing policy in the United States, we’re all in danger. Mainstream media that’s been shilling for this gang needs to take a sober, serious examination of its reporting, not after all the damage is done as in the Judith Miller case.

Did the Clinton Foundation Have a Storefront Accountant Like Madoff?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 24, 2016

Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton

Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton

A growing number of red flags are cropping up around the charity operation known as the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The title tells you right off the bat that there is no anti-nepotism policy in place. Bernie Madoff didn’t believe in an anti-nepotism policy either: his brother, wife, two sons and niece worked for him. That didn’t work out so well for any of them.

What is thus far beyond dispute regarding the Clinton Foundation’s finances is that Hillary Clinton’s political operatives have been on its payroll and that it failed to report tens of millions of dollars in foreign government donations on its 990 tax return to the IRS. As Reuters reported last year:

“For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years.

“Those entries were errors, according to the foundation: several foreign governments continued to give tens of millions of dollars toward the foundation’s work on climate change and economic development through this three-year period.”

Reuters also reported last November that it had found that a major program of the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, “had misreported funding sources by millions of dollars.” The Foundation said in response that it would refile its 2012 and 2013 tax returns known as 990s with the IRS.

This sounds like a lot of sloppy accounting. We decided to see if there was a storefront accountant involved. The storefront image came to mind because Madoff’s accountant, David Friehling, operated out of a storefront and was a sole proprietor.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, this storefront operation failed to conduct any of the following regarding the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities (BLMIS):

“(a) conduct independent verification of BLMIS assets; (b) review material sources of BLMIS revenue, including commissions; (c) examine a bank account through which billions of dollars of BLMIS client funds flowed; (d) verify liabilities related to BLMIS client accounts; or (e) verify the purchase and custody of securities by BLMIS. Friehling also failed to test internal controls as required under GAAP and GAAS standards. For example, Friehling did not take any steps to test internal controls over areas such as BLMIS’ redemption of client funds, the payment of invoices for corporate expenses, or the purchase of securities by BLMIS on behalf of its clients.”

But the Clinton Foundation is no Bernie Madoff accounting operation. According to 13 years of Federal tax returns available for public inspection at the public interest web site for ProPublica, from 2001 through 2012 the Clinton Foundation’s tax returns were prepared by BKD LLP, a national accounting firm that boasts of approximately 2400 employees in 50 U.S. states. That’s a long time not to have an auditor rotation. It also covers the years of 2010, 2011 and 2012 when Reuters reports, and the Foundation has acknowledged, that it failed to report tens of millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments on its Federal tax returns.

The Clinton Foundation’s 2013 Federal 990 tax return, the latest one we could locate, shows that BKD LLP has been replaced with an even bigger accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers or PwC, which has operations worldwide. Would a big name like PwC automatically ensure trustworthy financial reporting?

You could get the definitive word on that question by calling Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tyco who looted over $100 million from the company, including $6,000 for a shower curtain for his corporate residence on Fifth Avenue. Kozlowski has completed his 6 and a half year prison term so he might just pick up the phone. The looting of Tyco went down on the watch of PwC.

In 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought an action against the PwC accountant, Richard Scalzo, barring him from signing the audits of publicly traded companies that are filed with the SEC. The SEC noted in its complaint:

“The Commission’s Order finds that multiple and repeated facts provided notice to Scalzo regarding the integrity of Tyco’s senior management and that Scalzo was reckless in not taking appropriate audit steps in the face of this information. By the end of the Tyco annual audit for its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 1998, if not before, those facts were sufficient to obligate Scalzo, pursuant to generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS), to reevaluate the risk assessment of the Tyco audits and to perform additional audit procedures, including further audit testing of certain items (most notably, certain executive benefits, executive compensation, and related party transactions). Scalzo did not take sufficient steps in these regards. Accordingly, Scalzo recklessly failed to conduct the audits in accordance with GAAS. The Order, therefore, finds that Scalzo engaged in improper professional conduct. The Commission denies him the privilege of practicing before the Commission as an accountant.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, a lot of money was sloshing between Tyco and PwC. In a 2002 article, the newspaper reported:

“During Kozlowski’s tenure, Tyco became a lucrative client for PricewaterhouseCoopers, which collected $50.1 million in fees from the conglomerate in 2001. Before his indictment, Kozlowski also served as chairman of the audit committee at defense contractor Raytheon Co., which paid PricewaterhouseCoopers $84 million in fees in 2001, out of which only $4 million was for audit services.” (PwC also does various forms of consulting for its audit clients.)

What was the inside General Counsel at Tyco doing while all of this was going on at the company? We reported on that back in 2008, writing as follows:

“Back in 2002, Mark Belnick, who had previously been one of the legal go-to guys for Wall Street as a rising star at corporate law firm Paul,Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, found himself transplanted as General Counsel at fraud-infested Tyco International. Mr. Belnick inked a retention agreement for himself and it was duly filed without fanfare at the top corporate cop’s web site, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The agreement guaranteed Mr. Belnick a payment of at least $10.6 million should he commit a felony and be fired before October 2003.

“Very prescient fellow, Mr. Belnick was indeed charged with a few felonies like grand larceny and securities fraud by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Mr. Belnick was acquitted of those charges and the SEC let him off the hook for aiding and abetting federal violations of securities laws with a $100,000 penalty payment and a prohibition against serving as an officer or director of a public company for five years. Mr. Belnick agreed to the SEC settlement without admitting or denying the charges. Mr. Belnick did not lose his law license…

“While Mr. Belnick was drafting his ‘felony bonus’ agreement with Tyco, he was also teaching a law course at Cornell on ethics.”

Will we ever get to the bottom of what the real truth is on the money spigot known as the Clinton Foundation? One man, Charles Ortel, armed with a Harvard MBA and a long history in finance, has publicly vowed to get to the bottom of what he is calling the “largest unprosecuted charity fraud ever attempted.”

If Ortel is right and his findings preempt Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Oval Office, he will have the undying thanks of a grateful nation for sparing us a rerun of the Hill and Bill Show in the White House, a confidence-draining possibility that a nation struggling under $19 trillion in debt and a subpar growth rate of two percent or less since the 2008 crash can ill afford.

A Harvard MBA Guy Is Out to Bring Down the Clintons

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 23, 2016

Charles Ortel

Charles Ortel

Remember Harry Markopolos? That’s the tenacious financial expert that pounded on the door of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for years, providing it with detailed, written evidentiary support for the premise that Bernie Madoff, the respected former Chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, was running a massive Ponzi scheme. The SEC never confirmed the fraud before Madoff confessed as he ran out of money in December 2008 because it skipped the most basic of investigation techniques: it failed to verify if real stocks and bonds actually existed in Madoff’s client portfolios. They didn’t.

There’s a new Markopolos in town with that same brand of leave-no-stone-unturned tenacity and he has his sights set on the charity operations of Hillary and Bill Clinton, known as the Clinton Foundation and its myriad tentacles. Ortel’s actions come just as Hillary Clinton makes her final sprint for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States with Bill in tow as her economic czar. Like Markopolos, Charles Ortel does not mince words.

In a 9-page letter dated yesterday and posted to his blog, Ortel calls the Clintons’ charity the “largest unprosecuted charity fraud ever attempted,” adding for good measure that the Clinton Foundation is part of an “international charity fraud network whose entire cumulative scale (counting inflows and outflows) approaches and may even exceed $100 billion, measured from 1997 forward.” Ortel lists 40 potential areas of fraud or wrongdoing that he plans to expose over the coming days.

Like Markopolos, Ortel has an impressive resume. Ortel’s LinkedIn profile shows that he received his B.A. from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  He previously worked as a Managing Director at investment bank Dillon Read and later as a Managing Director at the financial research firm, Newport Value Partners. In more recent years, Ortel has been a contributor to a number of news outlets including the Washington Times and TheStreet.com.

The charges being made by Ortel are difficult to dismiss as a flight of fancy because mainstream media has tinkered around the edges of precisely what Ortel is now calling out in copious detail.

In a 2013 New York Times article, “Unease at Clinton Foundation Over Finances and Ambitions,” reporters Nicholas Confessore and Amy Chozick hint that Hillary Clinton’s political operatives are occupying offices at the Clinton Foundation headquarters, writing that they “will work on organizing Mrs. Clinton’s packed schedule of paid speeches to trade groups and awards ceremonies and assist in the research and writing of Mrs. Clinton’s memoir about her time at the State Department, to be published by Simon & Schuster next summer.”

A June 2015 article in the Wall Street Journal by Kimberley Strassel stopped hinting and spelled it out boldly, calling the Clinton Foundation a “Hillary superPac that throws in the occasional good deed.” Strassel explained:

“The media’s focus is on Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, and whether she took official actions to benefit her family’s global charity. But the mistake is starting from the premise that the Clinton Foundation is a ‘charity.’ What’s clear by now is that this family enterprise was set up as a global shakedown operation, designed to finance and nurture the Clintons’ continued political ambitions. It’s a Hillary super PAC that throws in the occasional good deed.”

Strassel goes on to provide the specific names of staffers who are deeply conflicted in their political work for Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions and  their ties to the charity.

An article by James Grimaldi in the Wall Street Journal as recently as May 12 of this year charges that a “$2 million commitment arranged by the nonprofit Clinton Global Initiative in 2010 went to a for-profit company part-owned by friends of the Clintons.” The Clinton Global Initiative is a program associated with the Clinton Foundation.

One notable thing that Charles Ortel is pounding away at is, why, with all of these media red flags for years, the Clintons have been allowed by state charity regulators in multiple states in which they solicit donations as well as their Federal regulator, the IRS, to continue business as usual. Are we looking at the Madoff-effect where regulators are afraid to take on powerful figures?

We think that’s a very good question to which the American public deserves a credible answer.