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NY Times study: SEC soft on Wall Street crime

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In the Romney Rule America, law and order only applies to the 99%. If you wear an expensive suit and work on Wall Street, all is forgiven.

The problem with the SEC - like much of Washington - is that the job is only a stepping stone to a more profitable career in private industry. Taking a hard line against Wall Street is a job prospect killer for those working at the SEC. Think of the SEC as the minor league baseball training ground for the big leagues. The massive insertion of cash into political campaigns is widely discussed but the revolving door is just as damaging, if not worse.

Until these cozy relationships are ended, there's no hope of ever holding Wall Street accountable. Political class insiders can spin it any way they like, but this stinks of corruption. The justice system for the 1% is in desperate need of reform. NY Times:

An analysis by The New York Times of S.E.C. investigations over the last decade found nearly 350 instances where the agency has given big Wall Street institutions and other financial companies a pass on those or other sanctions. Those instances also include waivers permitting firms to underwrite certain stock and bond sales and manage mutual fund portfolios.

JPMorganChase, for example, has settled six fraud cases in the last 13 years, including one with a $228 million settlement last summer, but it has obtained at least 22 waivers, in part by arguing that it has “a strong record of compliance with securities laws.” Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, which merged in 2009, have settled 15 fraud cases and received at least 39 waivers.

Only about a dozen companies — Dell, General Electric and United Rentals among them — have felt the full force of the law after issuing misleading information about their businesses. Citigroup was the only major Wall Street bank among them. In 11 years, it settled six fraud cases and received 25 waivers before it lost most of its privileges in 2010.

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