Think of it as the story of two antagonists. One of them was an honest senator who came to Washington to fight corruption. The other is an arrogant banker who's so sure of his untouchability that he wore "FBI" cufflinks when he made a public appearance last month.
Former Sen. Ted Kaufman, whose epic struggle to bring Wall Street to justice was depicted in PBS Frontline's recent episode "The Untouchables," made a striking observation on a press call today. "In a private case," Sen. Kaufman said, the Dexia bank's lawsuit "... uncovered reams of emails directly related to the fact that fraud was (allegedly) being committed by JPMorgan Chase."
He was referring to headlines like "E-Mails Imply JPMorgan Knew Some Mortgage Deals Were Bad" in the New York Times and "JPMorgan Hid Reports of Defective Loans Before Sales" in Bloomberg News. Sen. Kaufman added:
It's not just that the government wasn't bringing a case against JPMorgan Chase. Everybody in Washington from the president on down was praising its CEO, Jamie Dimon, claiming he was our nation's smartest and most ethical banker. So were a lot of reporters. Roger Lowenstein's flattering profile of the dyspeptic Dimon remains a classic of the Wall Street flattery genre.
Even Alison Frankel, who has done some excellent reporting in this area, was somehow able to ask only last month (unless her editors wrote the headline for her): "Is JPMorgan Chase the new MBS (mortgage-backed securities) piñata?"
Sometimes a piñata turns out to be a real donkey.
Wall Street Journal reporter David Erlich sent this to his Twitter followers from the international finance soiree at Davos: "Jamie Dimon is sporting FBI cuff links at #Davos. Sadly he wouldn't let me take a picture of them." . . . . . . . .
For the rest of the story see Richard (RJ) Eskow: Sen. Kaufman on JPMorgan Chase: Private Lawsuit Found Evidence the Feds Didn't