Wall Street doing what Wall Street Does. Prison bankers cash in on captive customers | Center for Public Integrity. For years, JPay has sponsored an award for former state corrections directors presented by the Association of State Correctional Administrators, paying for the recipient’s trip and a Wexford crystal bowl inscribed with the honoree’s name. JPay’s outreach extends to state legislatures as well, even though many of the company’s contracts forbid it from using fee revenue to lobby.
The company has hired registered lobbyists in at least seven states. Shapiro says JPay’s lawyers approved the use of company funds for that purpose. In Ohio, it tapped Thomas Needles, a former aide to President George H. The company also sought to lobby Washington for access to the federal Bureau of Prisons’ 216,000 inmates — what Shapiro has called “the mother ship of all contracts,” which is now held by Bank of America. It spent $20,000 in 2012 to hire Park Strategies, run by former U.S. More inmates, smaller budgets That doesn’t mean the door is open to competitors. Jones was not a fan of the system. Megabanks have prison financial services market locked up. Lubricating the system Across the country, jails and prisons are hungry for ways to shift their operational costs onto inmates and their families. Inmates need money to pay for essentials like toiletries and court fines as well as extras like higher-quality food than what is served in prison cafeterias.
Their families often pay high fees to send them the money. Inmates, in turn, pay marked-up prices for items sold at prison stores. The oil that lubricates this entire system is supplied by the prison bankers, vendors that collect all the inmates’ money in a pipeline of cash from which payments and fees can be pulled. Bank of America’s lock on federal prisons makes it a major player among prison bankers, many of which provide a range of high-cost financial services to inmates and their families and share their profits with the prison systems they work for. Providing services inside prisons is a growing business, but it’s not new. Twenty years later, the U.S. Gov. Christie Shifted Pension Cash to Wall Street, Costing New Jersey Taxpayers $3.8 Billion. The Wall Street Money Machine. The Rise of Corporate Impunity by Jesse Eisinger ProPublica, April 30, 5 a.m.
Meet the only Wall St. executive prosecuted as a result of the financial crisis. Has justice been served? SEC Issues More Fines Over Magnetar Deals – and Appears to Move on by Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger ProPublica, Dec. 12, 2013, 6:38 p.m. There have now been more than $435 million in SEC settlements regarding one of the most notorious groups of mortgage securities deals behind the financial crisis. SEC Files Charges in Magnetar Deal by Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein ProPublica, Oct. 18, 2013, 5:27 p.m. The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged an asset manager with fraud for its role in one of the most notorious groups of mortgage securities deals behind the financial crisis.
Yet Another Bank Fined for a Magnetar Deal, With Yet More Revealing Emails by Cora Currier ProPublica, March 14, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Emails Give Glimpse Into Deals That Fueled Financial Meltdown J.C. Did Citi Get a Sweet Deal? U.S. Meet the Banking Caucus, Wall Street's secret weapon in Washington. Rep. Scott of Georgia, at a February Financial Services hearing, urged regulators from five agencies to re-think the treatment of CLOs, saying the securities “provide large amounts of credit to small businesses.” “They are not toxic. They didn't cause the problem,” Scott continued, adding that small and regional community banks would be hurt. A senior official with one of the regulators, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the topic, said that Scott’s remarks were taken almost word-for-word from a list of suggested questions written by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and passed around to members of the committee.
SIFMA — which represents huge investment firms such as Morgan Stanley and Fidelity and spent more than $5.2 million last year on lobbying — declined to comment. Scott’s chief of staff, Michael Andel, didn’t confirm or deny the allegation. “I can’t find anything to match up to this,” he said. Issuance surged back. Black Marks Routinely Expunged From Brokers' Records, Report Finds. Uli Seit for The New York TimesSeth Lipner and other lawyers say too many bad brokers are getting complaints deleted. Updated, 5:11 p.m. | The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the private corporation that is the brokerage industry’s self-financed policing arm, has long provided a public database, known as BrokerCheck, to expose some of the bad behaviors of Wall Street.
Investors often rely on the organization’s database as a repository of red flags. In recent years, however, more and more brokers have been seeking to wipe their slates clean by seeking “expungements,” or the deletion of negative records or other problems. Brokers who asked arbitrators to recommend expungement got approval in 96.9 percent of cases that were settled from May 18, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2011, the lawyers’ group, the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, said in the report. Such requests are most frequently made after a customer and a broker or firm have reached a settlement before a hearing occurs.
Mr. After the Meltdown. Promontory Financial Draws Washington Scrutiny. Alex Wong/Getty ImagesEugene Ludwig, second from left, founded Promontory Financial after serving as President Bill Clinton’s comptroller of the currency. The consulting firm is filled with so many former bureaucrats and political insiders that it has become known as Wall Street’s shadow regulator. Nearly two-thirds of its roughly 170 senior executives worked at agencies that oversee the financial industry. The founder, Eugene A. Ludwig, is a former comptroller of the currency and a law school friend of Bill Clinton; the latest hire, Mary L. Schapiro, ran the Securities and Exchange Commission until late last year. Building off those connections, the Promontory Financial Group has emerged as a major power broker in Washington, helping Wall Street navigate an onslaught of new rules and regulatory scrutiny.
But Promontory and other consultants are now facing scrutiny in Congress, amid growing unease over their influence and their close ties to federal authorities. From the beginning, Mr. Occupy. Occupy Geeks Are Building a Facebook for the 99% | Threat Level. Protesters volunteering for the internet and information boards of the Occupy Wall Street protest work and broadcast from their media center in Zuccotti Plaza on Oct. 2, 2011. Photo: Bryan Derballa for Wired.com “I don’t want to say we’re making our own Facebook. But, we’re making our own Facebook,” said Ed Knutson, a web and mobile app developer who joined a team of activist-geeks redesigning social networking for the era of global protest.
They hope the technology they are developing can go well beyond Occupy Wall Street to help establish more distributed social networks, better online business collaboration and perhaps even add to the long-dreamed-of semantic web — an internet made not of messy text, but one unified by underlying meta-data that computers can easily parse. [bug id="occupy"]The impetus is understandable. Now it’s time for activists to move beyond other people’s social networks and build their own, according to Knutson.
#F29 OWS - Matt Taibbi's Teach-In at Bryant Park, NYC (Part 1 of 4) Keep Wall Street Occupied. The Tweeted Times - #occupy #ows. OccupyStream - Live Revolution. CHARTS: Here's What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About... The "Occupy Wall Street" protests are gaining momentum, having spread from a small park in New York to marches to other cities across the country. So far, the protests seem fueled by a collective sense that things in our economy are not fair or right.
But the protesters have not done a good job of focusing their complaints—and thus have been skewered as malcontents who don't know what they stand for or want. (An early list of "grievances" included some legitimate beefs, but was otherwise just a vague attack on "corporations. " Given that these are the same corporations that employ more than 100 million Americans and make the products we all use every day, this broadside did not resonate with most Americans).
So, what are the protesters so upset about, really? Do they have legitimate gripes? To answer the latter question first, yes, they have very legitimate gripes. My Advice to the Occupy Wall Street Protesters | Politics News. Joseph Stiglitz Was At Occupy Wall Street Yesterday And He Looked Like He Was Having A Great Time. Wall Street Mocks Protesters By Drinking Champagne 2011.
Kalle Lasn and Micah White, the Creators of Occupy Wall Street. Kalle Lasn spends most nights shuffling clippings into a binder of plastic sleeves, each of which represents one page of an issue of Adbusters, a bimonthly magazine that he founded and edits. It is a tactile process, like making a collage, and occasionally Lasn will run a page with his own looped cursive scrawl on it. From this absorbing work, Lasn acquired the habit of avoiding the news after dark. So it was not until the morning of Tuesday, November 15th, that he learned that hundreds of police officers had massed in lower Manhattan at 1 A.M. and cleared the camp at Zuccotti Park. If anyone could claim responsibility for the Zuccotti situation, it was Lasn: Adbusters had come up with the idea of an encampment, the date the initial occupation would start, and the name of the protest—Occupy Wall Street. Now the epicenter of the movement had been raided. Lasn began thinking of reasons that this might be a good thing.
“Eerie timing!” White reached Lasn by telephone shortly before nine. A Vision of Post-Clicktivist Activism. Clicktivism is a Trojan horse, a tactical malware, deployed by a dying American empire. What better way to cripple the revolutionary potential of a whole generation than to embed the logic of the marketplace within the very tools that would-be revolutionaries use?
Forget infiltrator "Anna" and the plague of agent provocateurs. The cop we need to worry about is residing in the computer code. If #OCCUPYWALLSTREET fails, it will be because we've blindly adopted "best practices" put forth by wealthy Californian techies turned reformist campaigners. Their methods now dominate the way many organizers believe activism should be done, privileging a data-obsessed, metrics-oriented, technocratic approach which is closer to advertising than resistance. Most clicktivist organizations today can be traced back to the $13.8m (£8.8m) sale in 1997 of a software company located in Berkeley, fifty miles from the heart of Silicon Valley, whose claim to fame was an iconic flying toaster screensaver. Wall Street, investment bankers, and social good. A few months ago, I came across an announcement that Citigroup, the parent company of Citibank, was to be honored, along with its chief executive, Vikram Pandit, for “Advancing the Field of Asset Building in America.”
This seemed akin to, say, saluting BP for services to the environment or praising Facebook for its commitment to privacy. During the past decade, Citi has become synonymous with financial misjudgment, reckless lending, and gargantuan losses: what might be termed asset denuding rather than asset building. In late 2008, the sprawling firm might well have collapsed but for a government bailout. Even today the U.S. taxpayer is Citigroup’s largest shareholder. The award ceremony took place on September 23rd in Washington, D.C., where the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for low-income families and communities, was holding its biennial conference. There is something in what Mack says.
Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion From Fed. Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits. By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Fed Chairman Ben S. “These are all whopping numbers,” said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis.
(View the Bloomberg interactive graphic to chart the Fed’s financial bailout.) Foreign Borrowers It wasn’t just American finance. Peak Balance The balance was more than 25 times the Fed’s pre-crisis lending peak of $46 billion on Sept. 12, 2001, the day after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. Odds of Recession Liquidity Requirements ‘Stark Illustration’ 21,000 Transactions. How Paulson Gave Hedge Funds Advance Word. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stepped off the elevator into the Third Avenue offices of hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management LP in Manhattan. It was July 21, 2008, and market fears were mounting. Four months earlier, Bear Stearns Cos. had sold itself for just $10 a share to JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Now, amid tumbling home prices and near-record foreclosures, attention was focused on a new source of contagion: Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac, which together had more than $5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and other debt outstanding, Bloomberg Markets reports in its January issue.
Paulson had been pushing a plan in Congress to open lines of credit to the two struggling firms and to grant authority for the Treasury Department to buy equity in them. “If you have a bazooka, and people know you have it, you’re not likely to take it out,” he said. A Different Message At the Eton Park meeting, he sent a different message, according to a fund manager who attended. Stock Wipeout. Stop payment! A homeowners' revolt against the banks—By Christopher Ketcham. Revealed: huge increase in executive pay for America's top bosses | Business. John Hammergren, CEO of healthcare provider McKesson, earned $145m last year. Photograph: George Nikitin/AP Chief executive pay has roared back after two years of stagnation and decline. America's top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay.
The dramatic bounceback comes as the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation. America's highest paid executive took home more than $145.2m, and as stock prices recovered across the board, the median value of bosses' profits on stock options rose 70% in 2010, from $950,400 to $1.3m. The Guardian's exclusive first look at the CEO pay survey from corporate governance group GMI Ratings will further fuel debate about America's widening income gap. Last year's survey, covering 2009, found pay rates were broadly flat following a decline in wages the year before. Still, there are no bankers among this year's big winners.
60 Minutes Shames Justice Department Over Wall Street. Tax gift to the rich. Todd Dagres, a prominent venture capitalist and independent movie producer, earned $3.5 million in 2003, and paid not a cent in federal income tax. The IRS challenged the math, and sent Dagres a bill for $981,980 in back taxes, plus $196,369 in penalties. So Dagres lawyered up. His attorneys waived one lucrative tax break to exploit an even better one, and claimed victory in the case in March. In the course of the dispute, Dagres offered five years of his tax returns as evidence in U.S. Dagres earned $58.5 million over those five years — ranking him among the richest 0.1 percent of Americans. Dagres, 51, is not alone. The trend has gotten quite pronounced in recent years, especially for the very, very rich who, like Dagres, earn most of their income from investing and can exploit the low rates on capital gains.
During that time, the combined taxable income of the top 400 soared from $16.3 billion to $91 billion. There is more than revenue at stake. Wrinkle in the Tax Code Flip-flop. Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen. Wall Street's Bailout Hustle : Rolling Stone. Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes? | Rolling Stone Politics. Wall Street's Naked Swindle : Rolling Stone. Looting Main Street | Politics News. The Great American Bubble Machine | Politics News. Wall Street's Naked Swindle | Politics News. Wall Street's Bailout Hustle | Politics News. A Christmas Message From America's Rich | Neil Barofsky’s Journey Into a Bailout Buzz Saw — Fair Game. Too Big to Jail? The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis | Politics News. The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever | Politics News.
Schneiderman Sues Three Big Banks, MERS for Deceptive Practices, Illegal Foreclosures. Lesson of JPMorgan’s Whale Trade: Nothing Was Learned. Matt Taibbi on Democracy Now!: Bank of America Fraud. NY Fed Fired Examiner Who Took on Goldman. The Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes. The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra.