Despite its massive rap sheet, which includes investor fraud and the bribing of Alabama officials, and despite the SEC investigation of its "London whale" debacle, JPMorgan Chase is is defying a subpoena in California and refusing to turn its emails over to a judge. It's charged with the same kind of criminal activity that was behind the Enron scandal: manipulating energy markets.
And despite Jamie Dimon's suggestion that the head of the "London whale's" group would be forced to return her ill-gotten millions, she was allowed to resign and keep the money. There's no sign that a criminal investigation of this affair is underway, despite Dimon's own admission that laws may have been broken.
Field also points out that Barclays has been caught red-handed at similar kinds of fraud before, but they didn't stop. Without indictments, why would they? Those settlements are just the cost of doing business -- a cost someone else pays, while the criminals themselves get rich
The SEC and state law enforcement officials have been moving, issuing "Wells notices" (an SEC document sent to banks under investigation) and searching for information. That much is a matter of public record.
Where's Mr. Holder?
But there's no evidence that Mr. Holder's Justice Department has mounted a serious effort to investigate bank crime. Its first, much-touted "coordinated effort" to crack down on mortgage fraud turned out to be a PR trick, not a law enforcement effort, which the Columbia Journalism Review described with the headline, "The Obama Administration's Financial-Fraud Stunt Backfires." That's not the kind of press a President wants to see repeated in an election year.
"Democrats have been having good luck painting Romney as the candidate of the one percent," said one observer. "But that could change quickly with a few bad headlines."
While nobody we spoke with was willing to raise the subject of a Holder resignation, they did insist that time was running out for the Attorney General to show concrete results.
Without criminal investigations and indictments, bankers will continue to commit crimes. The LIBOR scandal, which implicates a number of leading banks, proves that. The Justice Department's inaction is putting the world economy at risk by allowing bankers to continue their reckless and illegal behavior.Insiders say that its inaction is putting Barack Obama's re-election at risk, too, along with that of other Democrats. If the fate of the world doesn't spur the Administration and its Justice Department into action, perhaps the fate of its President will.