Jamie Dimon is the Chairman and CEO of the largest federally-insured, taxpayer-backstopped bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase. Through much of Dimon’s tenure, JPMorgan Chase has also been designated as the riskiest bank in the United States by its regulators. And despite its unprecedented criminal history, the U.S. Department of Justice keeps handing the bank deferred-prosecution agreements or non-prosecution agreements with the casualness of a carnival barker tossing out penny candy.
So all that remains as a potential restraint on this criminally-inclined banking behemoth is the bank’s federal regulators.
On July 27 of last year, the Federal Reserve, FDIC and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) – JPMorgan Chase’s bank regulators — released a proposal to require higher capital levels at banks with $100 billion or more in assets – those banks that demonstrated quite clearly in the spring of last year that they could spread systemic contagion throughout the U.S. banking system. Community banks will not be impacted at all by the new proposals according to the regulators.
The three federal bank regulators provided a very generous public comment period of 120 days on the proposal. The large banks had to only begin transitioning to the new rules on July 1, 2025, with full compliance not due for an absurd five years – on July 1, 2028.
On September 12, the banking cartel made its anger and intention to push back known in a 7-page letter that assaulted the proposal from every conceivable angle. The cartel demanded that the three federal agencies turn over all “evidence and analyses the agencies relied on” in making the proposal.
One of the signatories to the letter was the Bank Policy Institute (BPI), whose Board of Directors consists of the CEOs of the biggest banks. BPI is Chaired by none other than Jamie Dimon.
BPI next launched an ad campaign that grossly distorted what the increase in capital would do, claiming that it would harm working families. (These are the same mega banks that blew up the U.S. economy in 2008, put millions of Americans out of work, left millions of working families in foreclosure and got a secret $29 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve to resuscitate their sinking carcasses.)
This past week, various news outlets including Bloomberg News (which frequently functions as an advance man for Dimon) reported that the Bank Policy Institute had hired Eugene Scalia, a law partner at Big Law firm Gibson, Dunn, to weigh options for potentially suing the Federal Reserve and the other bank regulators over the proposed higher capital rules.
Pulling a well-worn tactic from his bag of magic beans, Scalia is expected to argue – if the case does go to court – that the banking regulators did not do a proper cost benefit analysis prior to proposing the capital rule.
Scalia is the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who didn’t see anything wrong with accepting lots of free vacations from private interests while he sat on the high court. Eugene Scalia is also the man who previously wielded a hatchet to gut key elements of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010. That legislation was intended to rein in the wildly risky behavior of the mega banks that had produced the worst economic collapse in 2008 since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Mother Jones News Editor, Patrick Caldwell, wrote the following in 2014:
“Ambrose Bierce once quipped that a lawyer is one skilled in the circumvention of the law. By that definition, Eugene Scalia is a lawyer of extraordinary skill. In less than five years, the 50-year-old son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has become a one-man scourge to the reformers who won a hard-fought battle to pass the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act to rein in the out-of-control financial sector. So far, he’s prevailed in three of the six suits he’s filed against the law, single-handedly slowing its rollout to a snail’s pace. As of May, a little more than half of the nearly four-year-old law’s rules had been finalized and another 25 percent hadn’t even been drafted. Much of that breathing room for Wall Street is thanks to Scalia, who has deployed a hyperliteral, almost absurdist series of procedural challenges to unnerve the bureaucrats charged with giving the legislation teeth.
“Scalia has ‘created this sense that we’re paralyzed, because if we write a rule we’re just going to be reversed,’ says Lisa Donner, executive director of the watchdog group Americans for Financial Reform. The threat of more suits, she says, has ‘cast a real chill’ over Wall Street regulators, particularly at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”
Dimon has become infamous for bullying anyone and anything that gets in the way of his quest for wealth and power. Take Robert Reich, for example.
Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He served in the administrations of Presidents Ford and Carter and as Labor Secretary under President Bill Clinton. Reich is also the author of 18 books, including bestsellers The Work of Nations, Saving Capitalism, and Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future. Reich received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.
Jamie Dimon made the mistake of coming into the crosshairs of Reich in 2018. According to Reich, Dimon phoned him in 2018 at his office at UC Berkeley and launched into a “diatribe” because Reich had criticized JPMorgan Chase publicly on the topic of “the degree of concentration of big Wall Street banks….”
Reich, apparently, saw Dimon’s attempt to bully him into silence as emblematic of how the oligarchs are taking over the United States. So Reich wrote a book, which was released two years later, in which Dimon is heavily featured in a negative light. The book is The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It.
Reich analyzes Dimon as follows in The System:
“Dimon doesn’t see how he has contributed to the mess we’re in. He doesn’t acknowledge the inconsistencies between his preferred self-image as ‘patriot first’ and his roles as CEO of America’s largest bank and chairman of the Business Roundtable [a corporate lobby group that has spent over $100 million lobbying members of Congress in the past five years]. He doesn’t understand how he has hijacked the system.” (We think the hard facts on the ground show that Dimon is not only intimately aware of how he has hijacked the system but that his every move is focused on preventing this reality from reaching the front pages of American newspapers before he cashes in his chips.)
By 2019, under Dimon’s stewardship, JPMorgan Chase had already racked up three criminal felony charges, to which it admitted and got settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice. The very next year, it admitted to two more felony counts. See: JPMorgan’s Board Made Jamie Dimon a Billionaire as the Bank Rigged Markets, Laundered Money, and Admitted to Five Felony Counts.
Last year, Dimon and JPMorgan Chase were at the center of the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal over separate federal lawsuits brought by Epstein victims and the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands, charging that the bank aided and abetted more than a decade of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking of children in a quid pro quo to get Epstein’s referrals of ultra wealthy clients. The lawsuits were settled by JPMorgan Chase for a combined $365 million.
The federal judge overseeing those cases, Judge Jed Rakoff in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, called the tricked up settlement with the sexual assault victims “a very fine settlement.” Rakoff’s view lost its luster when 17 Attorneys General brought other facts to light.
Showing just how much control the oligarchs and kleptocrats have in the U.S. today, only civil lawsuits have thus far been brought against JPMorgan Chase in the Jeffrey Epstein matter. Only deafening silence has come from the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Reich, in his book, also singles out Dimon for being one of those who have “justified their wealth and power as being in the interest of the public, but the public has been shafted.” Reich goes on to provide numerous examples of just how the public has been shafted, writing:
“The increasing concentration of wealth and power at the top has created an education system in which the super-rich can buy admission to college for their children, a political system in which they can buy Congress and the presidency, an information ecosystem in which they can buy public opinion, a health-care system in which they can buy care others can’t, and a justice system in which they can buy their way out of jail.”
Let’s pause here for a moment on Reich’s point of buying public opinion. Dimon is the only Wall Street mega bank CEO to have remained in that post since the financial crisis of 2008 – notwithstanding his bank losing $6.2 billion gambling with depositors’ money in derivatives in London; despite five felony counts to which it admitted; despite over $40 billion in fines and restitution for looting the public and rigging trading; despite years of providing banking services to two of the most notorious criminals of this century – Bernie Madoff and Jeffrey Epstein – and despite endless bailouts from the Federal Reserve to prop up this Frankenbank.
Reich sums up his analysis of Dimon in the new “System” in America like this:
“Jamie Dimon comes as close as anyone to embodying the American system as it functions today. He’s a member in good standing of the American oligarchy. If you want to understand that oligarchy, you need to understand Dimon.”
For a riveting analysis on how we ended up with these Wall Street oligarchs and their Frankenbanks, we recommend the seminal book on the subject — Taming the Megabanks: Why We Need a New Glass-Steagall Act by Arthur E. Wilmarth, Jr.