Sunday, January 22, 2012

If Corporations are People My Friend, Why Isn’t J. P. Morgan Chase in Jail?

Because if Corporations are People They Are Very Rich People, and Rich People Don’t Usually Go to Jail

The sordid saga that is Jefferson County, Alabama’s bankruptcy filing continues to get more sordid.  A side issue is that J. P. Morgan Chase, who participated in the selling of Jefferson County bonds, bonds that ultimately went belly up has reached a settlement with an investor.  Normally these settlements are confidential, but now at least a judge has ruled that the settlement can be made public in the trial against the bank.  Hurray.

Judge Thomas B. Bennett of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Birmingham ordered the Houston businessman, who got stuck with $35 million of the county's soured bonds when the financial markets collapsed in 2008, to appear before Jefferson County attorneys and bring a copy of the settlement that he struck last week with the investment bank. Those bonds, it was later revealed, originated in a series of corrupt dealings that put several conspirators in jail and triggered a hefty civil fine to the bank.

Examining that settlement could empower Jefferson County in its own lawsuit against the investment bank for its handling of the debt deals, which left the county with bond payments it couldn't afford and put it on the path to the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

An interesting side note involves the criminal activity that is associated with this case.  Consider how that played out.

Mr. Crane's lawsuit against J.P. Morgan's securities division, which was originally filed in February 2010, argued that the bank concealed bribery deals with Jefferson County officials when it marketed the sewer bonds. Ultimately, several county officials went to prison for taking money from the bank, and the bank paid a $722 million settlement to the Securities and Exchange Commission without admitting wrongdoing.

Now unless someone can cite chapter and verse that says he is wrong, The Dismal Political Economist believes that both taking a bribe and giving the bribe are criminal activities.  But notice what happened to J. P. Morgan Chase in this situation.  They pay a settlement and do not have to admit wrongdoing.

But under the logic of the Republicans, attacking a bank for bribing public officials is attacking free enterprise capitalism.  Since The Dismal Political Economist is a staunch supporter of free enterprise capitalism he must refrain from pointing out the criminal activities of J. P. Morgan Chase, and that is what he will do.

1 comment:

  1. I love you TDPE! Just keep doing what you're doing. I wish I had you ability for concise argument and humor. I'm just a boring smart fool living in the deep, deep, ignorant south. But, I had a two person radio show and am starting a new solo show about politics and economics. And it will be economics as WE understand it, not the propaganda most of America believes in. Help me please! Love you man!