The Debate Disaster and the Supreme Court’s “Chevron” Repeal Have a Money Trail Leading to Charles Koch

Charles Koch

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 1, 2024 ~ It took the New York Times Editorial Board less than 24 hours to assess the political landscape after the disastrous presidential debate last Thursday evening and call for President Joe Biden “to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election.” The Times called President Biden’s view that he is the only candidate that can beat Donald Trump “a reckless gamble.” But the New York Times is itself engaging in a reckless gamble with its unmoored bet that the Democratic Party would be able to amicably transition to a different presidential candidate who could win over the American people in the short span of four months left before the election. The Times is also gambling that this major disruption within the Democratic Party would not negatively impact down-ballot races and end up costing Democrats both the White House and control … Continue reading

Congressman Andy Barr Stacks a Hearing on the Fed’s Stress Tests with Lobbyists for Megabanks

Congressman Andy Barr

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 27, 2024 ~ Yesterday the House Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Stress Testing: What’s Inside the Black Box?” The hearing was convened to examine the manner in which the Federal Reserve conducts its stress tests of the megabanks. The witnesses called to testify included the following: an employee of the Financial Services Forum, a registered lobbyist for  banks; an employee of the Bank Policy Institute, a registered lobbyist for banks; Jonathan Gould, a lawyer from Jones Day, whose clients are banks; and one lonely soul, Greg Feldberg, Research Director of the Yale Program on Financial Stability, who was the only credible voice on the witness panel. The Chair of this Subcommittee is Andy Barr, a Republican from Kentucky whose largest four campaign donors are the following: employees of the Wall Street private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Blackstone … Continue reading

The Fed Posts Historic Operating Losses As It Pays Out 5.40 Percent Interest to Banks

Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 26, 2024 ~ According to Federal Reserve data, for the first time in its history, the Fed has been losing money on a consistent monthly basis since September 28, 2022. As of the last reporting date of June 19, 2024, those losses add up to a cumulative $176 billion. As the chart above using Fed data shows, the losses thus far in 2024 have ranged from a monthly high of $11.076 billion in February to a low of $5.674 billion in May. These losses are separate and distinct from the unrealized losses the Fed is experiencing on the debt securities it holds on its balance sheet. It does not mark those losses to market since it intends to hold the securities to maturity and their principal is guaranteed at maturity by the U.S. government. The losses shown in the above chart are actual cash … Continue reading

Goldman Sachs’ Bank Derivatives Have Grown from $40 Trillion to $54 Trillion in Five Years; So How Did Its Credit Exposure Improve by 200 Percent?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 25, 2024 ~ Last Friday, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, the federally-insured, U.S. taxpayer-backstopped commercial bank that the international trading behemoth, Goldman Sachs Group, is allowed to operate, got a smackdown from two of its regulators, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed). The two regulators released a letter they had sent to David Solomon, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Group, which revealed that the commercial bank had flunked its wind-down test known as its “living will.” Derivatives were specifically cited for the “shortcomings.” Of particular note, the regulators wrote that Goldman Sachs Bank USA “…did not demonstrate the ability to model its derivatives portfolio unwind by counterparty for segmenting the portfolio in resolution. In the [upcoming] 2025 Plan, the Covered Company should demonstrate the ability to view derivatives positions at a counterparty level within both the portfolio … Continue reading

The Fed and FDIC Wake Up Suddenly to the Threat of Derivatives, Flunking the Four Largest Derivative Banks on their Wind-Down Plans

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 24, 2024 ~ Since the financial crash of 2008 and the Fed’s multi-trillion dollar bank bailouts that followed, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has been waving a giant red flag every quarter in its “Bank Trading and Derivatives Activities” reports. For sixteen years the OCC has been reporting that just four megabanks are responsible for more than 80 percent of the trillions of dollars in bank derivatives. As the chart above shows, as of December 31, 2023, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., Citigroup’s Citibank and Bank of America held a staggering total of $168.26 trillion in derivatives out of a total of $192.46 trillion at all U.S. banks, savings associations and trust companies. That’s four banks holding 87 percent of all derivatives at all 4,587 federally-insured institutions in the U.S. that existed as of December 31, 2023. … Continue reading

Is the Stock Market Setting Investors Up for a Tech Bust Similar to the Bust?

Frightened Wall Street Trader

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 20, 2024 ~ On Tuesday, a stock most Americans had never heard of four years ago – Nvidia – closed with a market cap of $3.34 trillion. That makes it the most valuable company in the world, overtaking Microsoft’s heady $3.32 trillion market cap. Nvidia’s share price (ticker NVDA) has soared 174 percent year-to-date while the S&P 500 is up just 15 percent. The much broader index, the Russell 2000, has flat-lined this year. (See chart above.) Without the gains from Nvidia, the S&P 500 would be reporting one-third less percentage increase year-to-date. Nvidia trades on the Nasdaq stock market. Its share price has been riding the artificial intelligence (AI) hype in a manner reminiscent of how the Nasdaq skyrocketed in value on the tech and mania of the late 1990s. That era did not end well, to put it mildly. The Nasdaq … Continue reading

Chase Bank Customers Are Reporting a Wave of Wire Fraud in their Accounts; the Bank Won’t Make Good on the Looted Funds

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 19 2024 ~ On January 29, Anne Marie Murphy and two of her colleagues at law firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP in Santa Monica, California filed a lawsuit in Superior Court on behalf of a 76-year old widow, Diane Artemis Yaffe. Scammers had tricked Ms. Yaffe into making seven wire transfers out of her Chase Bank account, which tallied up to the astonishing sum of $1.8 million, or the bulk of her funds at the time.  There are three things which jump out of the factual details in the case that would appear to be legally problematic for Chase Bank – the federally-insured, retail banking unit of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. First, the six figure wires were completely out-of-character for this elderly client. Second, the huge sums were being wired out of the country. Third, the funds that Chase Bank wired were originally … Continue reading

The Senate Race in Ohio Is the Sickest in U.S. History in Terms of Billionaire Money from Outside the State 

Senator Sherrod Brown

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 18, 2024 ~ Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat and life-long Ohioan, is running for his fourth term in the U.S. Senate, after more than 17 years of proving consistently with his voice and actions that it’s the working class of Ohio that he stands up for in Congress. It would seem that Brown’s reelection should be an easy win. Instead, it will be one of the most expensive Senate races in U.S. history with the outcome dependent on just how vile and vicious the attack ads funded by out-of-state billionaires are against Brown. According to, outside groups have reserved $92.8 million in ads they plan to run supporting Brown’s Republican challenger, Bernie Moreno, a man who has bragged about his early “lower-middle-class status,” but whom the New York Times describes as being “born into a rich and politically connected family” in Bogotá, Columbia. … Continue reading

Sullivan & Cromwell’s Legal Work for Sam Bankman-Fried’s Crypto House of Fraud Is Getting a Closer Look in Two Federal Court Cases

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 17, 2024 ~ Last Monday, Robert J. Cleary of law firm Patterson Belknap filed a motion in the bankruptcy proceeding of Sam Bankman-Fried’s collapsed fraud, the FTX crypto exchange, seeking to launch three new investigations into legal work done by Sullivan & Cromwell for Bankman-Fried and FTX prior to the collapse of the fraud. Cleary is the independent examiner appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee, which acts as a watchdog in federal bankruptcy cases. Adding to the embarrassment for Sullivan & Cromwell with the announcement of the new investigations is the fact that Sullivan & Cromwell fought against allowing the U.S. Trustee to appoint an independent examiner after it had maneuvered itself into the position of lead counsel to the FTX bankruptcy proceeding, despite its multitude of conflicts with FTX. The presiding judge in the bankruptcy case, John Dorsey, had sided … Continue reading

Crypto Tries to Recreate the Koch Money Machine to Pack Congress with Shills

U.S. Capitol With Storm Clouds

Editor’s Note: For watchdog Better Markets’ detailed analysis of crypto’s “track record of lawlessness, deception, fraud, and investor losses,” see here. By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 13, 2024 ~ As meticulously chronicled by Jane Mayer and numerous others, the billionaire owners of fossil fuels giant Koch Industries — Charles Koch and his late brother, David Koch – spent decades building the tentacles of what became known as the Kochtopus. It was, and remains, a sprawling network of Super Pacs, nonprofits, dark money groups, activist groups and think tanks deployed to push an anti-regulatory agenda in Congress – particularly when it comes to fossil fuels and climate change. Koch’s latest addition is an Orwellian voter-mining database and its dangerous appendages. Crypto billionaires appear to have studied the Koch playbook carefully and are now rapidly rolling out a strikingly similar network. As we reported on Tuesday, a handful of crypto billionaires … Continue reading