Jamie Dimon gets a happy ending massage at Banking Committee hearing
Do you guys remember how last week the #OWS Alternative Banking group, along with Occupy the SEC, wrote up some questions for Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase?
Yves Smith also posted those Alt Banking questions on Naked Capitalism, along with some commentary about the senators who were expected to be asking questions of Dimon. Among other things, she mentioned their connections to Wall Street money:
…this is likely to be at most a ritual roughing up. First, the hearing is only two hours, and that includes the usual pontificating at the start of the session. By contrast, Goldman executives were raked over the coals for 10 hours over their dubious collateralized debt obligations. The comparatively easy treatment is no doubt related to the fact that JP Morgan is a major contributor to the five most senior committee members. Per American Banker:
JPMorgan is Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson’s second-largest contributor over the last two-plus decades, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzes campaign giving from companies’ employees and their political action committees since 1989. The same is true for the committee’s top Republican, Sen. Richard Shelby, and its second-ranking Democrat, Sen. Jack Reed.
The committee’s number-two Republican, Sen. Mike Crapo, and its third-ranking Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer, are not far behind their colleagues, with JPMorgan ranking third and fourth, respectively, among their contributors.
Second is that the format of these hearings, with each Senator getting only five minutes each per witness, makes it difficult for a questioner to pin an evasive or clever witness. It won’t be hard for Dimon to either run out the clock or bamboozle his interrogators. But he might, as he did in his hastily-called press conference announcing the losses, make more admissions to the effect that he and senior management weren’t on top of what the group was doing. That would support the notion that JP Morgan’s risk controls were inadequate, which would mean that Dimon’s Sarbanes Oxley certification for 2011, and potentially earlier years, was false.
Who wants to know what actually happened? To find out, go read Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stones excellent article on the hearing, which is very much in line with what Yves predicted. One of my favorite lines from the article:
This is a guy who just committed a massive blunder with federally-insured money, a guy who is here answering questions because his company, at his direction, clearly and intentionally violated the spirit of the Volcker rule, and these clowns on the Banking Committee are asking Dimon for advice on how to write the rule! It was incredible. Can you imagine senators asking the captain of the Exxon Valdez what his ideas are for new shipping safety regulations – and taking him seriously when he says he doesn’t think they’re a good idea?