By Pam Martens and cross-posted from Wall Street on Parade
One day before Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee held an historic grilling of the CEOs of the mega banks on Wall Street, the nonprofit watchdog, Better Markets, released an in-depth research report on “Wall Street’s Six Biggest Bailed-Out Banks: Their RAP Sheets & Their Ongoing Crime Spree.” The report detailed facts, figures and this inescapable conclusion:
“[Six Wall Street mega banks] have engaged in—and continue to engage in—a crime spree that spans the violation of almost every law and rule imaginable. Taking the breadth and depth of their illegal conduct as a whole, the six biggest banks in the country look like criminal enterprises with RAP sheets that would make most career criminals green with envy. That was the case not just before the 2008 crash, but also during and after the crash and their lifesaving bailouts…In fact, the number of cases against the banks has actually increased relative to the pre-crash era.”
The six mega banks profiled in the report are: Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.
A reliable source tells us that all major business media received the report on Tuesday, April 9. We know that Politico had the report by 8:00 a.m. because its “Morning Money” column provided a small news nugget at that time announcing that the report was out. Politico did not follow up, however, with any detailed coverage of the shocking revelations in the report.
Wall Street On Parade, after carefully reading and digesting the report, published an article on its contents the next morning, April 10. Then we began to hear from our outraged readers, who wanted to know why they weren’t reading about this report at major business media outlets. We checked the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Financial Times, Bloomberg News, Reuters, CNBC, and CNN. We could find no mention of the Better Markets report. (We checked again this morning. There is still a news blackout.)
We know that the Wall Street Journal was aware of the report because Lalita Clozel, a banking regulation reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Tweeted on April 10 that Democrats in the House Financial Services Committee room were handing out the report to journalists while the Chair of the Committee, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, was introducing the bank CEOs.
There are four words in this outstanding report from Better Markets that rendered it unpalatable to corporate business media: “rap sheets” and “criminal enterprise.” We searched Bloomberg News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times back to 2004 to see if at any time they had used the words “rap sheet” to describe the unprecedented serial crime sprees of these Wall Street mega banks. They had not. We did find this reference to rap sheets at the Wall Street Journal in 2014:
“Over the past 20 years, authorities have made more than a quarter of a billion arrests, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates. As a result, the FBI currently has 77.7 million individuals on file in its master criminal database—or nearly one out of every three American adults.”
Despite almost one-third of American adults having been arrested, not one CEO or top executive of the serially charged mega banks has seen the inside of a jail cell, despite criminal referrals from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission…