Campaign finance watchdog groups are calling on the Justice Department to launch investigations into the “non-campaigns” of some presidential “non-hopefuls” for flagrant violation of campaign spending limits. But when the agency responsible for enforcing such laws refuses to do so, what recourse do we have? The election has already been bought.
Russ Baker interviewed by Jay Taylor on our hidden history—the big picture you are not getting in the convention coverage. Find out why neither the Democrats nor Republicans will diverge very much from policies that benefit the few.
Two large debit-card issuers have suddenly decided to clean up their acts in the face of pending legislative action against them. The bigger question is: what’s to prevent them from pulling a bait and switch, first voluntarily revising their rapacious practices and then, when the threat of legislation dies down, ramping those practices right back Read More
[Updates below – Ed.] As the Obama administration attempts to overhaul the nation’s health care, energy, and financial sectors, it faces the growing leverage of the Blue Dog Coalition—the conservative, fifty-two-member faction of the House’s Democratic caucus—to moderate, or obstruct, its goals. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) recently published an investigation into the Blue Read More
The Miami Herald published a long investigative piece about how Sir Allen Stanford, whose Antigua-based banking empire has been shut down as a massive fraud, was able to open a Miami branch in 1998 free from regulatory oversight, with the approval of Florida banking regulators. Stanford got his regulatory-free branch—one of his most lucrative franchises—despite Read More
The Obama Justice Department has just floated a trial balloon to see if it can drop a legal effort to force the Swiss Bank UBS to disclose the names of 52,000 rich Americans suspected of using the bank to evade US taxes. Back in February, the Justice Department sued the bank in an effort to Read More
The Wall Street Journal has a solid piece of reporting on the continued power of hedge funds to shape their own—and the nation’s—destiny. The lede says it all (subscription required): Many hedge funds were relieved last week when the Obama administration’s financial-overhaul plan included no big surprises or threats to the lucrative, secretive industry. It Read More
Goldman Sachs is on pace to make record bonus payouts after a robust first half, the Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday. Goldman staff in London were briefed on the outlook and told they could look forward to the bonus hikes if the company registers, as predicted, its most profitable year ever, the report said. The Read More
In the New York Times, Joe Nocera argues that Obama’s steps at regulating Wall Street are tepid compared to FDR’s and are likely to leave in place some of the very mechanisms that contributed to the crisis. Read this excerpt, if not the entire piece, then my closing comment: [T]he Obama plan is little more Read More
How exactly did the Federal Reserve gain the emergency authority to loan more than $1 trillion of taxpayer money to the banks secretly and without oversight? The Washington Post explains today in a long investigative piece by Binyamin Appelbaum and Neil Irwin. As it turns out, Sen. Chris Dodd slipped the necessary language into an Read More
We’ve heard a lot rumbling from the banks in the past several weeks about how committed they are to repaying the TARP money they have received at the soonest opportunity. The motive of such talk is clear: Paying back TARP money would clearly be seen as a sign of strength,” Douglas Elliott, fellow at Brookings Read More
The Financial Times has reported that America’s top banks need not raise the full amount of capital mandated by the recent “stress tests” if they manage to book higher than expected earnings: The banks have 28 days to announce their capital-raising plans and until November 9 to implement them. Wells Fargo and other banks that Read More