One might well wonder how crimes on the scale of the big banks’ — which precipitated the crisis in the housing market leading to what is popularly referred to as the great recession — can go unpunished. Sure there have been a handful of fines paid, including the recent settlement negotiated between the U.S. government and Bank of America, in which the bank agreed to pay $12 billion in fines to settle several state and federal investigations into illegal and unethical practices.
No one, however, has gone to jail — nor even been arrested and formally charged — even though it is widely known who the actors in these crimes were.
To the contrary, the CEOs of the banks involved in these criminal activities saw an average increase in compensation last year of 10 percent with an average pay package of $13 million.
On this weeks Moyers and Company, Bill Moyers took a look at the situation and discovered Wall Street’s “secret” weapon — it is our Congress, the best that money can buy.
“Occasionally we have been accused of trying to undermine aspects of Dodd-Frank,” Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said recently, chuckling as he added, “I hope we’re guilty of it.” Hensarling is the chair of the House Financial Services Committee which is charged with oversight of the industry but which as Moyers points out serves as “one of those no-tell motels” to the banking industry.
“Name one big time banker,” Moyers challenges, “who’s been held responsible for his — yes they’re all male — his role on the wrecking crew. To the contrary, the banks that brought us down are riding higher than ever. Sure, some are paying fines but even $12 billion is mere piggy bank change for Bank of America.”
Moyers goes on:
“These ‘gentlemen’ are among the leaders of the industry’s efforts to repeal, or water down, some of the tougher rules and regulations enacted in the Dodd-Frank legislation that was passed to prevent another crash. As usual, they’re swelling their ranks with the very people who helped to write that bill. More than two dozen federal officials have pushed through the revolving door to the private sector they once sought to regulate.
And then there are the lapdogs in Congress willfully collaborating with the financial industry. As the Center for Public Integrity put it recently, they are ‘Wall Street’s secret weapon,’ a handful of representatives at the beck and call of the banks, eager to do their bidding.”
No one wants to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs and as long as our Congressman are allowed to accept unlimited campaign contributions from these banks and move directly from Congress to the board room nothing will be done to change the status quo, we will continue to see bankers blatantly commit crimes from illegal foreclosures to outright money laundering with no consequences.
You can watch Moyers’ comments below or the entire show here.
[vimeo 98097692 w=500 h=281]
h/t: Raw Story