January 23, 2013
Those who watched Frontline’s special on why nobody has been prosecuted on Wall Street titled appropriately “The Untouchables” didn’t learn much new. The rehash of ideas presented is what has been well known for years – namely that when it comes to prosecuting Wall Street criminals nothing will ever happen, because as Bill Gross tweeted ” Its not Republican in politics. Its not Dem in politics. Its money in politics” and all the money in politics comes from Wall Street, which happens to be the ultimate ruler of the United States of America, pushing levers here and pulling stringer there to give the impression the constitutional republic is still alive. It isn’t – this country has become an unchecked despotism of those in charge of money creation and who control capital – just the thing Andrew Jackson warned against. One thing we did learn, was courtesy of Assistant Attorney General Lenny Breuer who made it very clear that when it comes to the concept of justice the banks are and always have been “more equal” than others. He does so in such shocking clarity and enthusiasm that it is a miracle that this person is still employed by the US Department of Justice.
To wit from the transcript:
MARTIN SMITH: You gave a speech before the New York Bar Association. And in that speech, you made a reference to losing sleep at night, worrying about what a lawsuit might result in at a large financial institution.
LANNY BREUER: Right.
MARTIN SMITH: Is that really the job of a prosecutor, to worry about anything other than simply pursuing justice?
LANNY BREUER: Well, I think I am pursuing justice. And I think the entire responsibility of the department is to pursue justice. But in any given case, I think I and prosecutors around the country, being responsible, should speak to regulators, should speak to experts, because if I bring a case against institution A, and as a result of bringing that case, there’s some huge economic effect — if it creates a ripple effect so that suddenly, counterparties and other financial institutions or other companies that had nothing to do with this are affected badly — it’s a factor we need to know and understand.
In other words, no criminal charges can be levied against anyone who engaged in the crimes leading to the great financial crisis of 2008 because, get this, the implications of pursuing justice may have destabilizing implications!
In other words, the banker threat of Mutual Assured Destruction has metastasized from the legislative, where in 2008 Hank Paulson demanded a blank check from Congress to spend it on whatever he wishes, “or else…”, and has fully taken over the Judicial, where there is Justice for all… and no “Justice” for those who are systemically important.
Ted Kaufman summarizes:
TED KAUFMAN: That was very disturbing to me, very disturbing. That was never raised at any time during any of our discussions. That is not the job of a prosecutor, to worry about the health of the banks, in my opinion. Job of the prosecutors is to prosecute criminal behavior. It’s not to lie awake at night and kind of decide the future of the banks.
Alas Ted, it appears it is.
Frontline’s conclusion was perfectly expected: “to date, not one senior Wall Street executive has been held
criminally liable by the Department of Justice for activities related to
the financial crisis.”
We now know why: it is because of people like this:
Lanny A. Breuer was unanimously confirmed as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division on April 20, 2009.
As head of the Criminal Division, Mr. Breuer oversees nearly 600 attorneys who prosecute federal criminal cases across the country and help develop the criminal law. He also works closely with the nation’s 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in connection with the investigation and prosecution of criminal matters in their districts. Mr. Breuer is a national leader on a range of federal law enforcement priorities, including financial fraud, health care fraud, public corruption, and violence along the Southwest Border. He has also been a leading voice on policy issues related to criminal law enforcement, including the scope of prosecutors’ discovery obligations in federal criminal cases and sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses. Mr. Breuer regularly testifies before Congress on the Administration’s policy initiatives and advises the Attorney General and the White House on matters of criminal law. Mr. Breuer also serves as the Department’s representative on the Atrocities Prevention Board, which President Obama announced in April 2012. For his work as Assistant Attorney General, the National Law Journal named Mr. Breuer a “Visionary” in the Washington, D.C. legal community, and he was recently ranked sixth on Ethisphere’s list of The 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics.
Mr. Breuer began his legal career in 1985 as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, where he prosecuted violent crime, such as armed robbery and gang violence, white collar crime, and other offenses. In 1989, he joined the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP, where he worked until 1997, when he joined the White House Counsel’s Office as Special Counsel to President William Jefferson Clinton. As Special Counsel, Mr. Breuer assisted in defending President Clinton in the Senate impeachment trial.
Mr. Breuer returned to Covington in 1999 as co-chair of the White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group, where hespecialized in white collar criminal defense and complex civil litigation and represented individuals and corporations in matters involving high-stakes legal risks. He also vice-chaired the firm’s Public Service Committee. At Covington, Mr. Breuer developed a reputation as one of the top defense lawyers in the country.
Full Frontline episode for those who missed it:
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm