Forgive us if we begin our discussion of the Senate Subcommittee for Investigation's JPMorgan Chase hearing with a small victory lap, but as they say down South, "It ain't braggin' if it's true." We've been saying for years that JPMorgan Chase is fundamentally a criminal enterprise, that "Obama's favorite banker" Jamie Dimon is a fraud, and that "America's best bank" is a nest of venality and criminality. Although we value civility as much as the next guy, we've been forced to suggest that this bank is the "Scandal of Our Time," a leading contender for "Worst Corporate Outlaw of the Year."
We were also forced, civility or no, to suggest that JPM's relationship with Syracuse University is corrupting our young people, and that the most generous interpretation of Dimon's own tenure is that he is so profoundly incompetent as an executive that "Jamie Didn't Know." We also noted that Jamie did know that the London Whale scheme had cost his bank billions, even as he told investors on a phone call that it was just a "tempest in a teapot."
If that's not prima facie evidence of criminal stock fraud, conducted by The Man himself, it's hard to know what is.
JPMorgan Chase was deeply involved in the Facebook IPO fiasco, which reeks of ethical lapses (and possibly worse). According to a whistleblower, it also had evidence regarding Bernie Madoff's shenanigans, but kept on serving as his bank. Three years ago we ran the numbers and found that JPM had 44 percent of the derivatives market. Today's it's undoubtedly more.
Turns out we didn't know the half of it.
"F-- Da Police Regulators"
We noted that Dimon showed up at Davos a few weeks back wearing FBI cufflinks, which seemed like his way of saying he had Federal investigators in his pocket. That was not an unreasonable assumption for Dimon to make, given that the FBI works for Attorney General Holder and that Holder's past and future career includes doing a lot of work for the likes of Jamie Dimon.
Of course, in Dimon's case "FBI" could also stand for "F*** Bank Investigators," since the OCC and other agencies responsible for monitoring his bank have given it a free pass to carry on in its own lawless way.
Old-fashioned corrupters like Diamond Jim Brady had nothing on Diamond Jamie.
Dimon himself did not attend today's hearing, which is intriguing: Why wasn't he there? Did he refuse a subpoena, negotiate his way out of it, fly to a "secure undisclosed location" with Dick Cheney? Inquiring minds want to know.
But with or without JPM's capo in the hot seat, this was one heck of a show. It seems clear: Something's changed for Jamie D.
It's true that some recent reports on Dimon's bank were, even for jaded observers like yours truly, downright shocking. Still, having seen the free pass Dimon received a few weeks ago at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, as senators skipped the most important questions for Dimon, we didn't expect the bank and its executives to receive such a bipartisan grilling on the Hill today.
Jamie's crew got mugged, more than anyone saw coming.
The Worm Turns