JAIL IS FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Why we need another Pecora Commission

Does anyone here know anything about the Pecora Commission? It starts with one brave person.

I’ll begin with this article from Zero Hedge:

Phil Angelides Discusses America’s Dual Justice System: One For Wall Street And One For Everyone Else
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/14/2011 21:56 -0400
Lisa Murphy of Bloomberg interviewed the chairman of the now defunct FCIC, Phil Angelides to discuss the findings presented yesterday by Carl Levin. The topic was the “greased pig” that is Wall Street. The conclusion is that America now has a dual justice system: “One for ordinary people and then one for people with money and enormous wealth and power.” As for crime deterrents, considering that to this day not one person has gone to prison, even an idiot can foresee what Angelides has to say on this issue: “To the extent laws were broken, we need deterrents. If someone robs a 7-11, they took $500 and they were able to settle the next day for $50 and no admission of wrongdoing, they’d knock over that 7-11 again.”

That’s language we can all understand. In reality, though, if you steal $500 from a 7-11, you go to jail. Banksters never go to jail.

“And we’ve seen time after time where people and firms have made tens, one hundreds, billions of dollars. They’ve settled charges for pennies on the dollar. At Citigroup for example they represented that they had $13 billion of subprime mortgage exposure when they really had $55 billion. The penalty to the chief financial officer who made $19 million that year, 2007, was $100,000. Goldman was fined $500 million but the date they settled their stock moved up $2 billion. There’s been no real consequence.”

The real gem of this ZH post is this one long comment that you’ll have to go and read in full:

by DavidPierre
on Thu, 04/14/2011 – 22:50


For a year, a commission established by the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs has supposedly been investigating the causes of the Wall Street Crash.

Initially, the investigation” is little more than a whitewash. The first two commission counsels are fired and the third resigns in protest because there is no power to subpoena witnesses, which makes the whole exercise a bit of a farce.

But things take a remarkable turn when a remarkable man, New York City prosecutor, Ferdinand J. Pecora, accepts the position of Chief Counsel to the commission.

In February, Pecora begins a real investigation of what Franklin Roosevelt called “the ruthless manipulation of professional gamblers and the corporate system” which caused the Great Crash of 1929 and led to the Depression.

By the time Pecora begins calling the boys in the back room to account, forty percent of all U.S. banks have gone belly up taking the savings of nine million Americans with them. Millions of Americans have lost everything on stock market and “investment” scams. Homes, farms and businesses are being repossessed by the thousands. Seventeen million Americans are unemployed. And, through it all, through all the misery and hunger and despair, some people, already unimaginably wealthy, are getting richer and richer.

As the hearings unfold, America’s leading financiers and industrialists, the “cream” of American society, the ruling class, are shown to have engaged, yet again, in an almost endless series of ruthless conspiracies against the people of the United States.

Charles Mitchell, President and Chairman of the Board of the Rockefellers’ National City Bank (Citicorp) and a director of the American branch of the Nazi cartel, IG Farben, is the first Wall Street tycoon called to testify and his grilling by the courageous Pecora sets the tone for the rest of the hearings.

Pecora uncovers the fact that National City Bank is really little more than an enormous criminal conspiracy dedicated to swindling small investors out of their savings.

The punchline:

It goes without saying that no one named Rockefeller, Mitchell, Morgan, Wiggins, Dillon or even Lapowski ever goes to jail for their crimes and the pinstriped gangsters unmasked by Pecora were no exception.

Only a single minion of the ruling class, Richard Whitney, a long time associate of the Morgans and president of the New York Stock Exchange at the time of the Crash, ends up behind bars. But his crime was very serious, stealing from the ruling class.

Here’s a Wikipedia page:

Ferdinand Pecora (January 6, 1882 – December 7, 1971) was an American lawyer and judge who became famous in the 1930s as Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Banking and Currency during its investigation of Wall Street banking and stock brokerage practices.
Pecora’s investigation unearthed evidence of irregular practices in the financial markets that benefited the rich at the expense of ordinary investors, including exposure of Morgan’s “preferred list” by which the bank’s influential friends (including Calvin Coolidge, the former president, and Owen J. Roberts, a justice of Supreme Court of the United States) participated in stock offerings at steeply discounted rates. He also revealed that National City sold off bad loans to Latin American countries by packing them into securities and selling them to unsuspecting investors, that Wiggin had shorted Chase shares during the crash, profiting from falling prices, and that Mitchell and top officers at National City had received $2.4 million in interest-free loans from the bank’s coffers.

Spurred by these revelations, the United States Congress enacted the Glass–Steagall Act, the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. With the United States in the grips of the Great Depression, Pecora’s investigations highlighted the contrast between the lives of millions of Americans in abject poverty and the lives of such financiers as J.P. Morgan, Jr.; under Pecora’s questioning, Morgan and many of his partners admitted that they had paid no income tax in 1931 and 1932; they explained their failure to pay taxes by reference to their losses in the stock market’s decline.

Here’s another Wikipedia page:

The Pecora Investigation was an inquiry begun on March 4, 1932 by the United States Senate Committee on Banking and Currency to investigate the causes of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The name refers to the fourth and final chief counsel for the investigation, Ferdinand Pecora.
The Banking Committee’s hearings ended on May 4, 1934, after which Pecora was appointed as one of the first commissioners of the SEC.

In 1939 Ferdinand Pecora published a memoir that recounted details of the investigations, Wall Street Under Oath. Pecora wrote: “Bitterly hostile was Wall Street to the enactment of the regulatory legislation.” As to disclosure rules, he stated that “Had there been full disclosure of what was being done in furtherance of these schemes, they could not long have survived the fierce light of publicity and criticism. Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker’s stoutest allies.”

“Legal chicanery and pitch darkness were the banker’s stoutest allies.” A great line. However, Obama’s administration has proved that the banksters can go about their business in sunlight, rest assured that they will never go to jail.

Let’s shift back to today and a recent article from Fortune magazine:

Goldman report: last chance for perp walks?
Posted by Colin Barr
April 13, 2011 8:32 pm
It’s never too late to cross your fingers and hope for a financial crisis perp walk.

That is the message behind the crusading report released Wednesday by Sens. Carl Levin (right), D-Mich., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. It is a numbing, 635-page dose of the greed, fear, self-importance and self-dealing that enriched Wall Street bankers during the housing bubble and will impoverish the rest of us for years to come.

This isn’t the first time we are seeing Wall Street’s many warts up close. But Levin made clear he has bigger hopes for this examination: he sees the report as perhaps one last chance for U.S. prosecutors to finally reel in the big fish that has eluded them since the markets started melting down in 2007.

How bad was the corruption? This has been pointed out on RedState, but I’ll show this again for those who’ve missed it:

Matt Taibbi Asks Why The Fed Gave $220 Million In Bailout Money To The Wives Of Two Morgan Stanley “Bigwigs”
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/12/2011 12:51 -0400
Matt Taibbi has resurfaced with another stunner of Wall Street impropriety which will lead to merely more silence, even more unanswered questions and be quickly buried by the kleptocratic oligarchy.

The Real Housewives of Wall Street: Look Who’s Cashing In On the Bailout
From Rolling Stone Magazine

Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs?

Let’s be honest: TARP began under George W. Bush and the criminals haven’t been prosecuted because money has been given to both Democrats and Republicans.

The Democrats often say that we can’t criticize the reckless spending under President Obama because there was also reckles spending under President Bush. That’s certainly true, but yes, some of us have criticized Bush for that.

It’s time to save the country. Financial criminals must go to jail. The budget must be balanced. The U.S. dollar must stand for something more than a printing press.

This is no time to go soft on anybody, Democrat or Republican.

Mr. Boehner, there will be some hearings on this in your House, no?

Ferdinand J. Pecora showed that one man can make a difference.