Posted in Crony Capitalism, Federal Reserve, tagged Bernie Sanders, Crony Capitalism, Federal Reserve, GAO, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon, Jeffrey Immelt, JP Morgan Chase, Stephen Friedman on October 19, 2011|
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The Government Accountability Office has just completed its second audit of the Federal Reserve. The report, a summary available here, focuses on “the enormous conflicts of interest that existed at the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis.”
Some of its findings:
- The affiliations of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors with financial firms continue to pose “reputational risks” to the Federal Reserve System.
- The policy of the Federal Reserve to give members of the banking industry the power to both elect and serve on the Federal Reserve’s board of directors creates “an appearance of a conflict of interest.”
- The GAO identified 18 former and current members of the Federal Reserve’s board affiliated with banks and companies that received emergency loans from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis including General Electric, JP Morgan Chase, and Lehman Brothers.
- There are no restrictions on directors of the Federal Reserve Board from communicating concerns about their respective banks to the staff of the Federal Reserve.
- Many of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors own stock or work directly for banks that are supervised and regulated by the Federal Reserve. These board members oversee the Federal Reserve’s operations including salary and personnel decisions.
- Under current regulations, Fed directors who are employed by the banking industry or own stock in financial institutions can participate in decisions involving how much interest to charge to financial institutions receiving Fed loans; and the approval or disapproval of Federal Reserve credit to healthy banks and banks in “hazardous” condition.
- The Federal Reserve does not publicly disclose its conflict of interest regulations or when it grants waivers to its conflict of interest regulations.
- 21 members of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors were involved in making personnel decisions in the division of supervision and regulation at the Fed.
The GAO included several instances of specific individuals whose membership on the Fed’s board of directors created the appearance of a conflict of interest including:
Stephen Friedman, the former chairman of the New York Fed’s board of directors.
During the end of 2008, the New York Fed approved an application from Goldman Sachs to become a bank holding company giving it access to cheap loans from the Federal Reserve. During this time period, Stephen Friedman, the Chairman of the New York Fed, sat on the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs, and owned shares in Goldman’s stock, something that was prohibited by the Federal Reserve’s conflict of interest regulations. Mr. Friedman received a waiver from the Fed’s conflict of interest rules in late 2008. This waiver was not publicly disclosed. After Mr. Friedman received this waiver, he continued to purchase stock in Goldman from November 2008 through January of 2009. According to the GAO, the Federal Reserve did not know that Mr. Friedman continued to purchases Goldman’s stock after his waiver was granted.
Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, and board director at the New York Fed
The GAO found that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York consulted with General Electric on the creation of the Commercial Paper Funding Facility established during the financial crisis. The Fed later provided $16 billion in financing to General Electric under this emergency lending program. This occurred while Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, served as a director on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase and board director at the New York Federal Reserve
Dimon served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the same time that his bank received emergency loans from the Fed and while his bank was used by the Fed as a clearinghouse for the Fed’s emergency lending programs. In March of 2008, the Fed provided JP Morgan Chase with $29 billion in financing to acquire Bear Stearns. During this time period, Jamie Dimon was successful in getting the Fed to provide JP Morgan Chase with an 18-month exemption from risk-based leverage and capital requirements. Dimon also convinced the Fed to take risky mortgage-related assets off of Bear Stearns balance sheet before JP Morgan Chase acquired this troubled investment bank.
You can read the the full GAO report here.
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Wow. That’s it? That’s what we’ve been waiting for? Sounded like a campaign speech. Lots of condescending tone. Tax the rich! Spend!
I don’t remember hearing the word “stimulus”. Pass this and pass it now! Everything will be paid for, but not a lot of detailed explanation. Another plan coming a week from Monday!
Let’s see the plan, Mr President. Let’s analyze the plan. There were a few bi-partisan bits given (payroll tax cuts, new hire tax cuts), but overall not very impressive, and there’s really no plan! By the way, where’s the budget?
Before the speech, the news anchor said the White House predicted it would last 48 minutes without applause. My estimate is that it lasted a bit more than 30 minutes with applause. What gives? Did the President expect more applause than he got? Also, what’s with yet another warning about a “credible terrorist threat” for NYC and Washington DC? It was released again immediately after the speech. Hmm. I’m just sayin’.
This isn’t the speech the President needed to kick off Campaign 2012. He’s toast. Donesky.
All he did was to draw the line in the sand. If Congress does’t pass it, it’s not his fault. That’s leadership? Another speech, a higher level of urgency. It’s the first time I’ve really heard seen such focus on small business. Where were you two years ago?
The measures he talked about may indeed help the economy and there are some things he said that may be passed by the Republicans, but alas, it will hardly move the dial. Obama’s recommendations won’t accelerate the recovery by much.
The painful de-leveraging — and the effects thereof — of citizens, municipalities, states, and the nation is obviously beyond the President’s understanding.
One final note: The President has finally acknowledged that the economy, in fact, is not improving. This speech should have been given a year ago.
We’ll see. Let’s watch football! (Live blog after the break)
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Andrew Breitbart gives all but one of the GOP candidates an “F” for last night’s performance.
2012 will be won or lost in the media trenches. General Electric (still partial owners of MSNBC, and its crony capitalist architect) has become the poster child for rent-seeking corporate welfare and tax dodging. Do Republicans not know that GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is Obama’s close friend and corporate fig leaf as chair of the administration’s jobs panel? Why did none of the eight candidates shove this back in the aggressive moderators’ faces: that they are as complicit in the debt crisis–that they refused to bring up in the debate–as Obama himself?
MSNBC is the administration’s government-supported public relations operation, continually featuring news segments framed by the George Soros-funded and John Podesta-led Center for American Progress and Media Matters for America. The latter is partially funded by a labor movement that considers those that appeared on the Reagan stage “sons of bitches” and has declared “war” on them. MSNBC even injected an SEIU hit job ad during a debate break.
In 2008, we watched John McCain’s campaign repeatedly play the role of Charlie Brown to the media’s Lucy. Last night was a demoralizing reminder that the next GOP standard-bearer will find him or herself on their back after the media has pulled away the ball.
RELATED: Kyle-Anne Shiver: The Five Biggest Reasons Republicans Keep Losing the Propaganda War
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