Goldman Sachs Criminally Charged by Justice Department – and Its Stock Closes Up $2.49

David Solomon, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 23, 2020 ~ If you needed further proof that crime pays on Wall Street, look at the chart above. Goldman Sachs and its Malaysian subsidiary were criminally charged yesterday by the Justice Department, they admit to the charges, and its stock closed up on the day by $2.49. The U.S. Department of Justice is being played like a fiddle at a tractor meet. Those big white shoe law firms that handle increasingly dirty cases against the mega banks on Wall Street have twice, in a period of just three weeks, managed to get the Justice Department to announce settlements of landmark criminal cases against two of the largest banks on Wall Street on the day of presidential debates when the public and the media are not paying attention to Wall Street. On September 29, the day of the first presidential debate between President … Continue reading

Charles Koch Should Be on the Presidential Debate Stage Tonight, Not Donald Trump

Charles Koch

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 22, 2020 ~ Anyone who has carefully studied the presidency of Donald Trump knows that his job is Distractor in Chief. Investigative reporters for the New York Times have spent endless hours compiling Trump’s tax evasions and unreported foreign bank account in China. The Washington Post has spent endless hours compiling more than 20,000 lies Trump has told since taking office. But the real man in charge of directing the agenda of the Trump administration, fossil fuels billionaire Charles Koch, has received far less scrutiny. Yesterday, former President Barack Obama delivered a speech at a campaign rally in Philadelphia for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. During the remarks, Obama got to the core of what Charles Koch’s political network and money machine has done to gut the safeguards for everyday Americans at the federal regulatory agencies that previously protected them. Obama didn’t mention … Continue reading

The Fed Did a Lot of Talking Yesterday about a Big Bank Failure: Should We Worry?

Lael Brainard, Fed Governor

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 21, 2020 ~ Turns out the federal government’s plan for dealing with a mega bank failure on Wall Street is no better conceived than the federal government’s plan for dealing with the worst pandemic since 1918. The Federal Reserve issued two press releases yesterday about “large banks.” One read: “Agencies finalize rule to reduce the impact of large bank failures.” The other read: “Agencies issue final rule to strengthen resilience of large banks.” Wait. What? Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has been telling anyone who would listen this year – from Congress to viewers of the Today show – that the large banks have been a “source of strength” during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. If that were true (which we’ve questioned from the first time Powell said it) why is the Fed now worrying about a “large bank failure” and … Continue reading

Loan Loss Reserves at Mega Banks Are Far from Where They Need to Be

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 20, 2020 ~ It’s time to revisit that scene from the movie, The Big Short, where Steve Carell, playing Mark Baum, is sitting in the audience at the American Securitization Forum and interrupts the speaker on stage who has just stated that he expects subprime losses “will be contained at 5 percent.” Baum loudly asks: “Would you say that it is a possibility or a probability that subprime losses stop at 5 percent?” The speaker says: “I would say that it is a very strong probability, indeed.” Baum sits down but then begins to waive his arm in the air, forming a zero with his fingers. Baum then shouts out: “Zero! Zero! There is a zero percent chance that your subprime losses will stop at 5 percent.” You can view the scene from the movie below. That scene came to mind when we … Continue reading

How Criminal Charges Against a Wall Street Icon Went from Front Page News to a Yawn at the New York Times

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 19, 2020 ~ On May 2, 1985 the highest law enforcement officer in the United States, the head of the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General Edwin Meese, held a news conference to announce that the sixth largest brokerage firm on Wall Street, E.F. Hutton, was pleading guilty to 2,000 felony counts of wire and mail fraud. It had also agreed to pay criminal fines of $2 million and up to $8 million in restitution to the 400 banks it had defrauded. The fraud had lasted less than two years, from July 1, 1980 and February 28, 1982, and consisted of the following according to the Justice Department: “The essence of the charges was that Hutton obtained the interest-free use of millions of dollars by intentionally writing checks in excess of the funds it had on deposit in various banks.” On the following … Continue reading

Harper’s Provides a Chilling Account of Secret Presidential Powers

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 18, 2020 ~ Andrew Cockburn has a stunning report in the November issue of Harper’s Magazine on secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents (PEADs) that “implement extraordinary presidential authority in response to extraordinary situations.” Cockburn notes that these sweeping powers have been “Compiled without any authorization from Congress” and were not on the public’s radar “until Donald Trump started to brag about them.”  In March, Trump made this statement: “Well, we have things that I can do.  We have very strong emergency powers under the Stafford Act.  And we are — we have it — I mean, I have it memorized, practically, as to the powers in that act.  And if I need to do something, I’ll do it. I have the right to do a lot of things that people don’t even know about.” Cockburn walks us through how Presidents throughout history have … Continue reading

Stock Mutual Funds Have Had Net Outflows for 25 Weeks, Bringing Total to $388.7 Billion — a Record

Piggy Bank Thumbnail

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 16, 2020 ~ Refinitiv Lipper, which has been tracking mutual fund flows for the past 18 years, reports that for the week ended Wednesday, October 14, equity (stock) mutual funds marked their 25th week of net negative outflows, losing -$8.6 billion for the week. Year-to-date, that brings their net outflows to -$388.7 billion. Refinitiv Lipper notes that if that figure stands, it will be the “largest annual net outflows ever, significantly outdistancing last year’s net negative result (-$294.0 billion).” That’s a pretty historic achievement given that the U.S. had the worst stock market freak out since the Great Depression in 2008 and early 2009. The S&P 500 Index lost 56.8 percent from October 9, 2007 to March 9, 2009. What raises further alarm bells about the steady outflow from stock mutual funds this year is that for the past 9-1/2 months there has … Continue reading

The Fed Wants the Public to Know It Can Withhold Information Under an Executive Order and Defy Subpoenas from Courts and Congress

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 15, 2020 ~  The United States is experiencing the worst pandemic since 1918. The U.S. economy is experiencing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. And the general public is attempting to vote in the most important presidential election of a lifetime with obstacles like fake ballot boxes, 5-hour wait lines, and destroyed mail-sorting machines. What is the central bank of the United States, the Federal Reserve, doing with its free time at this critical moment? It’s rewriting its rules for responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from the public and media. After revising the Fed’s own FOIA rules earlier this year, the Fed is now rewriting the FOIA rules for the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). That just happens to be the entity in charge of sluicing that cumulative $9 trillion to trading houses on Wall … Continue reading

Senator Whitehouse Named Names in Dark Money Tutorial at Amy Barrett’s Confirmation Hearing

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 14, 2020 ~ You could hear a lot of throat clearing from the live mic at the table where Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett sat yesterday as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) brilliantly exposed the tentacles of the corporate and fossil fuels money that was attempting to ram her onto the U.S. Supreme Court. (See the full video of the presentation by Whitehouse below.) As a former U.S. Attorney for the Justice Department and former Attorney General of Rhode Island, Whitehouse knows corruption when he sees it. The Whitehouse tutorial was a summation of a 29-page treatise by Whitehouse that appeared earlier this year in the Harvard Law School Journal on Legislation. That article provides an in-depth look at how dark money has plied its corporate agenda to steal representative government from the American people. If you are searching for answers as to how … Continue reading

New Book Proves U.S. Is Living Under a Disastrous Banking Model from a Century Ago

Taming the Megabanks

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 13, 2020 ~ It has been the contention of Wall Street On Parade for more than a decade that today’s so-called “universal banks,” also variously known as megabanks or Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs), are a banking model from hell that was thoroughly discredited in the tens of thousands of transcripts and documents released by the U.S. Senate following its multi-year investigation of that structure in the early 1930s. Now the seminal book proving that theory has just been published. Written by Arthur E. Wilmarth, Jr. and titled Taming the Megabanks: Why We Need a New Glass-Steagall Act, the book brilliantly takes the reader through a riveting guided tour covering the past century and the resurrection of this same disastrous U.S. banking model in 1999. Oxford University Press is the publisher of Wilmarth’s book. We can envision it becoming one of the most … Continue reading

If You’re Baffled as to Why JPMorgan Chase’s Board Hasn’t Sacked Jamie Dimon as the Bank Racked Up 5 Felony Counts – Here’s Your Answer

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Has Survived a Raft of Criminal Charges Against His Bank

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 12, 2020 ~  For years we’ve been trying to figure out why JPMorgan’s Board of Directors hasn’t sacked its Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, as the bank racked up two felony counts in 2014 for its failure to alert U.S. regulators to glaring red flags in the bank account it held for Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme; one felony count in 2015 for rigging foreign exchange markets; and two more felony counts just last month for rigging the precious metals and U.S. Treasury market. (The bank admitted to all five counts.) In addition, the bank came under another criminal investigation in 2012 and 2013 when it lost $6 billion of its bank depositors’ money gambling in credit derivatives in London (the London Whale scandal). Turns out Jamie Dimon has been taking very good care of the Directors on his Board and they have been … Continue reading

Citigroup Is Slapped with a $400 Million Fine for Doing Something So Bad It Can’t Be Spoken Out Loud

Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup Since 2012

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 8, 2020 ~ Federal regulators are rapidly becoming bigger Dark Pools of information than those secretive stock exchanges run by the big banks on Wall Street. On Tuesday, September 29, when all eyes were focused on the presidential debate to occur that evening, the Justice Department issued a press release announcing the fourth and fifth felony counts against JPMorgan Chase in the past six years. In an unprecedented move, the Justice Department did not hold a press conference to explain why the country’s largest bank is allowed to perpetually commit felonies with no change in management. The bank admitted to the charges and was put on a three-year probation – its third such probation in six years. Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of the bank, who has presided over all five felony counts, was left in place at the bank. Yesterday, when … Continue reading

Billionaire Charles Koch, Whose Minions Staffed Up the Trump Administration, Has a Common Bond with Russian Election Interference

Charles Koch

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 7, 2020 ~  Charles Koch is the billionaire owner of Koch Industries, one of the largest private companies in the world with vast interests in fossil fuels, refineries, chemicals, lumber, paper and glass manufacturing. A subsidiary of Koch Industries is Koch Supply and Trading, which engages in commodities trading on a scale rivaling the largest banks on Wall Street. Charles Koch also heads an operation variously known as the Koch Network or the Kochtopus, because its tentacles are strangling the life out of representative government in the United States. The operation hosts semiannual strategy sessions where obscenely rich Americans get together to jointly commit hundreds of millions of dollars to keep Congress and the Oval Office in the hands of fossil fuel-friendly candidates who have demonstrated an obedience to a deregulatory agenda. Koch Foundation money and two dark money groups, Donor’s Capital Fund … Continue reading

As 98,000 Businesses Permanently Closed, the Fed and Treasury Have Sat on $340 Billion of Untapped Money from the CARES Act

Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 6, 2020 ~ When both parties in Congress came together in March to pass the CARES Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on March 27, the clear intention of the legislation was for the U.S. Treasury to hand over $454 billion of taxpayers’ money to the Federal Reserve. The Fed, in turn, was to leverage the money by 10 times to approximately $4.54 trillion to deploy to keep the economy moving, credit flowing, workers employed and businesses alive until the pandemic had been brought under control. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell made an unprecedented appearance on the Today show on March 26 and explained the plan like this: “In certain circumstances like the present, we do have the ability to essentially use our emergency lending authorities and the only limit on that will be how much backstop we get from the Treasury Department. … Continue reading

As SEC Attempts to Provide Greater Darkness to Trading Firms, Maxine Waters Fights Back

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (Thumbnail)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 5, 2020 ~ Is the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, a watchdog or a lapdog? If you judge him by his actions since taking office on May 4, 2017, it looks like the latter. That was easily predictable given that Clayton had represented 8 of the 10 largest Wall Street banks in the three years prior to taking his seat as Chair of the SEC. Clayton is also the man who is now attempting to elevate his role to that of the top criminal prosecutor in Wall Street’s home turf of Manhattan, by knocking Geoffrey Berman out of the job. That office is the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York where there are pending investigations related to both Donald Trump as well as Clayton’s former clients, the big banks on Wall Street. One person in … Continue reading