GAO Fail: Phony Fed Audit Fails to Reveal BlackRock & Jamie Dimon's Dirty Secret

EB's picture

@Nouriel, enough with the pro-Fed propaganda already.

Reposted with permission from

We recently revealed that the Government "Accountability" Office audit of the Fed's emergency practices during the financial panic (which caused so much consternation even in watered down form) was a complete whitewash. In its review of the Fed's outsourcing practices, the GAO failed to mention the most damaging and suspicious sole-source (no bid) contract awarded to BlackRock, which was for managing the New York Fed's toxic Bear Stearns portfolio, otherwise known as Maiden Lane. This contract would generate $108,000,000 in fees and was one of the largest awarded during the bailout period, but it might also have saved JP Morgan $1.1 billion in losses from its Bear Stearns acquisition.

A key finding from the GAO report related to the noncompetitive award of contracts to third parties, particularly by the New York Fed (emphasis ours):
The Reserve Banks, primarily FRBNY, awarded 103 contracts worth $659.4 million from 2008 through 2010 to help carry out their emergency lending activities. A few contracts accounted for most of the spending on vendor services. The Reserve Banks relied more on vendors more extensively for programs that provided assistance to single institutions than for broad-based programs. Most of the contracts, including 8 of the 10 highest-value contracts, were awarded noncompetitively due to exigent circumstances as permitted under FRBNY’s acquisition policies.
The report also stated there was a total of three sole-source contracts awarded, and the GAO went out of its way to highlight the reason for two of them:

For example, FRBNY noncompetitively selected BlackRock as the investment manager for Maiden Lanes II and III because BlackRock had already evaluated the underlying assets pursuant to an engagement with AIG prior to the extension of credit by FRBNY.

Yet, amazingly (or not so), the GAO failed to disclose that BlackRock had no similar experience with the Bear Stearns portfolio (the original Maiden Lane). According to [now] Vice President Sarah Dahlgren of the New York Fed, there was no "clear reason" for BlackRock to be awarded the management rights on a noncompetitive basis. We know this because of internal emails, which were subpoenaed by Congress pursuant to its investigation of the Fed's bailout of AIG (emphasis ours):

To Sarah Dahlgren/NY/FRS@FRS
Re: Sole Source
Spent some time with him [Tom Baxter, Jr., FRBNY GC] tonight. (He doesn't understand ML3, and I can't begin explain it either -- so don't needle him! -- and I am going to have [Paul] Whynott [FRBNY VP] spend some time with him tomorrow, BTW, you might touch base with Joyce [Hansen, FRBNY Deputy GC] about her reaction to Sunday's briefing; I think she had some concerns about how ML3 was presented to Geithner, which she expressed to Paul.) [Geithner] knew that Stephanie [Heller, FRBNY Asst. GC] was handling the Blackrock contract -- he didn't express any concerns -- and I explained that, in contrast to MLI, we had a clear reason to sole source it this time (that they had already modeled, etc.). So, although I have no worries, yes, probably worth reviewing it with him [Geithner] before taking it to Tom."

As to the New York Fed's guidelines on third party contracts, the GAO notes (emphasis ours):

FRBNY awarded contracts in accordance with its acquisition policy, which applied to all services associated with the emergency programs and single-institution assistance. FRBNY is a private corporation created by statute and is not subject to the FAR. Instead, FRBNY developed its own acquisition policy, called Operating Bulletin 10.

According to the New York Fed's Operating Bulletin 10, sole-source contracts require approval at the highest levels (emphasis ours):
4.3 Exceptions to Competitive Acquisitions
A. Procedures other than competitive solicitations or small purchase procedures may be used in the following circumstances. The Contract Representative should draft a memorandum with sufficient supporting documentation to justify the use of the exception to acquisition procedures, and obtain the approval of a senior officer (Vice President or higher). The approving senior officer must have the appropriate level of signing authority, pursuant to Operating Bulletin No. 2, for the expected dollar expenditure. A copy of both the approval memorandum and senior officer approval should be placed in the acquisition file of the Contract Representative area and forwarded to the Procurement Division as the central repository for contract information.Contracts in excess of $500,000 that are not competitively bid must be approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors pursuant to Operating Bulletin No. 2.
1. Sole Source. The property or services are available from only one responsible supplier and no other type of property or services will satisfy the Bank’s needs.
(1) A sole-source acquisition involves no competition and should be utilized only when justified and necessary to serve Bank needs. A sole-source award should generally be made only where no other source of supply is available.
In short, the approval of the $108 million BlackRock contract had to be approved by both a senior officer at the New York Fed and its Board of Directors due to the size of the contract. And just who comprised the board at the time?
STEPHEN FRIEDMAN, Chair and Federal Reserve Agent
Stone Point Capital, LLC, Greenwich, Conn.
DENIS M. HUGHES, Deputy Chair
New York State AFL-CIO, New York, N.Y.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
JPMorgan Chase & Co., New York, N.Y.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
General Electric Company, Fairfield, Conn.
President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman
The Adirondack Trust Company, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Popular, Inc., San Juan, P.R.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, N.Y.
Columbia University, New York, N.Y.
Notably, ex-Goldman Sachs Chairman, Stephen Friedman, would later resign in disgrace after it was learned that he was loading up on shares of his former employer (Goldman) as it was receiving overt and covert bailouts from the very same New York Fed through the various emergency lending facilities.
And while the contract amount of $108 million might seem like peanuts in light of the billions being thrown around at the time, BlackRock might have served another function by becoming investment manager for Maiden Lane. As we wrote in June, 2010, BlackRock ended up heavily trading the MBS portion of ML, which had been sold to the public as a vehicle to simply unwind Bear Stearn's toxic assets. So much so, that MBS trading profits papered over the substantial losses in the RMBS and loan sections of the portfolio. While the New York Fed had loaned ML approximately $28.8 billion to purchase the portfolio, JP Morgan ponied up a cool $1.1 billion of its own, and was last in line to be paid if there were losses.
Also, BlackRock was also one of the managers of the NY Fed's separate $1.25 trillion MBS purchase program as part of QE1. Contrary to the lie on the NY Fed's webpage (that the MBS auctions were conducted via competitive bidding), the NY Fed's own purchasing manager, Brian Sack, admitted in a paper that, "the MBS purchases were arranged with primary dealer counterparties directly, [and] there was no auction mechanism to provide a measure of market supply."
Putting it all together, it looks like Jamie Dimon signed off on hiring BlackRock for no justifiable reason to trade the very Maiden Lane portfolio that could have caused his bank, JP Morgan Chase, to lose up to $1.1 billion. And, it was entirely possible that BlackRock saved the portfolio by trading the MBS portion of ML with the New York Fed directly as QE1 was underway.
Unfortunately, the GAO's work product is not subject to public request, but it can be compelled to be released by Congress. The next time Congress decides to subpoena the Fed, or Bloomberg decides to file a FOIA, they might request the acquisition file for the BlackRock Maiden Lane contract containing the officer approval and justification notes, as well as the minutes of the director meeting with Friedman, Dimon, Immelt et al.
If one guy with nothing more than a laptop and an internet connection could find all this, we are left to wonder what other elephants the GAO ignored during its field trip to 33 Liberty Street.

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chinawholesaler's picture

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mberry8870's picture

"If one guy with nothing more than a laptop and an internet connection could find all this, we are left to wonder what other elephants the GAO ignored during its field trip to 33 Liberty Street."


The difference being you were looking.

jmc8888's picture

Anyone else having problems with ZH?

Tunga's picture

We're sorry but Microsoft is not currently translating HP code. Please download the latest version of for the latest version of this very exciting but not so unexpected conclusion to the saga formerly known as; WTF was I thinking? Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? HAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!

falun bong's picture

I wonder what the AFL-CIO guy is doing on that list?

His membership should be pretty underwhelmed with the share of the pie they got out of this deal.

After all, who needs solvent "customers" with actual wages in their pockets to buy your products when you can make money instead with all these games.

Biggest heist in history, happening before our eyes, under our noses. If you walk in to a bank with a wheelbarrow, fill it with money, and nobody stops you at the door, what do you do? You go back foir seconds, that's what you do...


Peace (dividend)

strateshooter's picture

this and other recent revelations now clearly show that the politicos sanctioned massive fraud as a panic measure to help out the FIRE industry that had consumed itself thru massive fraud.

There can be doubt now about the collusion between the Banks and their politico puppets.

Sometime in the future..ALL these people ought to be in court and tried before the American people.

Their defence will be ..we had no choice, we had to do it to avoid catastophe.Bullshit.They did to save their own asses.

Paulson, Bernanke ...all of 'em. Jail time ...serious jail time and hard time .


disabledvet's picture

Spunds like Jamie Dimon made his pick for a billion good reasons to me. All that's missing is a le etat cest moi moment.

sgt_doom's picture

Fantastic blog posting, Master EB, fastastic!

Gee whiz, old Stephen Friedman, who was:

Senior Principal of Marsh & McLennan Capital, Inc during 2001.

Also, Bush’s director of the National Economic Council,

And don't forget, he served on President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), Aspin/Brown Commission on the U.S. Intelligence Community, Jeremiah Panel on the National Reconnaissance Office, In-Q-Tel, Markle Foundation

And Blackrock spewed forth from Peter G. Peterson's Blackstone Group, and David Rockefeller handpicked Peterson to be his replacement as director at Council on Foreign Relations, and later Peterson would handpick little Timmy Geithner to replace Peterson at NY Federal Reserve.

Yup, it's a small world after all (please add Coca Cola muzak here).

Is it irony or perversity that President Kennedy stood up to both US Steel and GE, but then our Hopeless Changeling, Barack Obama, appoints the CEO of Zero-tax paying, and massive jobs offshoring, GE, to be the "jobs czar"?????

?Ain't Amerika grand?

So he's been on just about every intelligence panel between 1980 to 2000, and knows quite a bit about the NRO, plus he's Goldman Sachs, plus FRBNY, plus CIA's "venture firm" In-Q-Tel, plus the Markle Foundation which, together with the Center for a New American Security, appears to be the author of too many of the Obama Administration's position papers.

Rick64's picture

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was hit with two libel lawsuits seeking $90 million by former Marsh & McLennan Cos executives over a column posted on about an insurance bid-rigging scandal.

EB's picture

And didn't Obama's mom work with papa Peter Geithner on microfinancing projects in Indonesia for the Ford Foundation?  

Mark Lombardi would be having a field day with this stuff had he only chosen not to commit suicide right as his career was taking off.

daxtonbrown's picture

At some point some these guys are going to be running for their lives. With this degree of crookedness, abetted by the Federal government, how can we not end up in a civil war?

tradewithdave's picture

Yes indeed, but don't forget that "one guy with a laptop" is worth two Goldman laptops found in a New York garbage room.

Dave Harrison

EB's picture

LOL...forgot about that one.

gwar5's picture

Blackrock is wingman for the squids. They are everywhere too.


Troy Ounce's picture



Too many economists are munching from the Keynesian trough.  Time to change the daily feed to exactly the same volume. Decrease the size of the trough. Or slaughter a few economists.

wisfool's picture

... or just inject them up with the print-more-hormone shot to fatten them up a little more for the butcher.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Is this not the only question that Professor Paul needs to ask out aloud in the house:

Who Owns the Federal Reserve? Look at the names on that list, with our own poison water selling Indra Nooooooo nooooooo noooooo yi in the mix. I'm sure the corssover with Bilderberg/CFR/Trilateralists must be epic.

Tell the big lie long enough seems to have worked very well for the FED.

Vivek (ORI)


Burticus's picture

<----- Hang 'em all

<----- Hang the worst 30,000, put the rest in prison

Disclosure:  Long rope

HellFish's picture

Agreed.  But I do have a fantasy that these higher level folks get pardoned and sent into servitude.  Let them clean public toilets for the rest of their miserable lives 12 hours a day.

Larry Darrell's picture

They are criminals at heart.

If you put them in charge of cleaning highway rest stops, it would only take 2 days for the following:

1)  No toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels, etc to be found.  All taken home by the staff for personal use

2)  Professional prostitution rings with trucker "lot lizards" miracurously upgraded

3)  Every semi which stops would be looted

4)  Highway patrolmen put on the kickback list.


Etc, etc. etc. 

This is who they are and what they do.  Best to just hang em high and be done with it.

HCSKnight's picture

The Information Super-Highway is backfiring on the wealthy. Given the disposal of Christian morality, I think the Wall Street saying of "blood in the streets" will come to be a reality Wall Street thought was a relic of the French Revolution......

The tragic effects of the evil of abortion on demographics is the fruit of fundamental moral choices by a materialism focused West.

DOT's picture

" Christian morality" is an oxymoron.

Maybe there exists Christian feudalism/fundamentalism, and as the MSM reminds occasionally, Islam has its prefered form  the Califate.

Cover and absolution always available to the PTB.

gwar5's picture

For the longest time (hundreds of years), it was a well understood capital offense for bankers to debase the currency. It actually worked pretty well as a deterrent. 



ReactionToClosedMinds's picture

had forgotten the Board  composition of NY Fed ..... we are doomed .....

Downtoolong's picture

You hold all this up against Black Rock’s shitty performance investing the old fashioned way (like we all have to do it) in BAC stock and quickly realize that not one of these glorious TBTF institutions could survive on its own without insider trading, rigged deals, and an endless stream of government subsidy in one form or another.

Rick64's picture

+1000  How do you lose with all those advantages and yet we have to bail them out.

Careless Whisper's picture

FRBNY is a private corporation...

say what?

Sgt.Sausage's picture

Actually, he's not wrong.

But he ain't exactly right either.

The Federal Reserve (and it's various banks - including NY) have components that are both privately owned, and parts that are government run. It's a unique mixture of the two.

Educate yourself:



Kayman's picture

both privately owned, and parts that are government run

Private Criminals take the profits and losses are dumped on the Public.

EB's picture

I merely quoted the GAO there.  But then again, they've been light on truth recently.

Lazlo Toth's picture

You are not wrong. The answer was wrong. They are PRIVATELY OWNED. Key word owned. Being privately RUN by a part of the Government, doesn't make you Govenment. It actualy makes you more like Boeing.

Continue good sir.


Sgt.Sausage's picture

Don't call me "Sir", Private --  I work for a living.

??'s picture

Don't be too hard on @Nouriel

But he sure had some harsh tweets this weekend directed towards the Tea Party, anti-Keynesians, anti-Fed crowd.


Herbert_guthrie's picture

The fact that Nouriel will not admit that fractional reserve banking is nothing more than fraud, confirms that he is one.

akak's picture

Fuck Count Chocula already, and the Bernankster he rode in on.


Nov. 4 {2009} (Bloomberg) -- Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the global economic crisis, said a forecast by investor Jim Rogers that gold will double to at least $2,000 an ounce is “utter nonsense.”

There is no inflation or “near-depression” to drive gold prices that high, Roubini said today at the Inside Commodities Conference in New York. If a severe depression came to pass, with investors buying canned goods and hiding out in log cabins, “maybe you want some gold in that scenario,” Roubini said.

“Maybe it will reach $1,100 or so but $1,500 or $2,000 is nonsense,” Roubini said.

StychoKiller's picture

Yet, AU is currently trading at $1910/Toz!

Rick64's picture

Jim Rogers is solid. No double speak no talking in circles.

Tom of the Missouri's picture

As a former country  boy and motorcycle rider myself I am biased, but Jimmy Rogers rocks.  I just wished I had followed  his advice and bought more gold and a farm earlier. Per Rogers, I could then have been in line for Jamie Dimon's Maserati.

Smiddywesson's picture

Too funny.

Maybe he left out a zero here or there and meant $15,000?  Still seems a bit low to me

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Isn't it actually referred to as "fictional reserve" banking?

LawsofPhysics's picture

QE3 will result in the true cost of creating capital out thin air being pushed on to more of the middle class.  Commodities and all physical assets of real value will adjust closer to their inflation-adjust price. I am positioned and hedged accordingly.  Go ahead Ben, I dare you.  Pump my meager equity portfolio or pump my physical and commodities portfolio, personally, I don't care either way.  Selling more paper gold (not physical) for more arable land to expand operations will follow.  bring it.

There is a real cost for creating capital and then mis-allocating it.

SwingForce's picture

Its hard to understand why people don't think STOCKS will be QE3. After all, they are the best inflation hedge (better than gold), they pay CASH DIVDS, when they go up money is created out of "thin air", and best of all- They are PAPER! 

LawsofPhysics's picture

Unfortunately, you ignore the fact that those stocks are paying their dividends in increasingly useless paper.  Besides, the average time a stock is held is less than 10 seconds now.  Again, when you "cash out" do you get the purchasing power back that you put in?  No, more useless paper.  I'll stick with re-investing in my business and employees.  That is a much better infaltion/survival hedge, thanks.  Playing with paper that is gamed is a fools venture, it all burns eventually and besides I actually want to produce things of real value and that takes time and effort.  People forget this.

iamse7en's picture

<------Roubini is an idiot.

<------Roubini is a genius.

Herbert_guthrie's picture

I had to vote genius.

If he is being paid for his "economic knowledge and predictions", that makes him a genius in my book.

No one will pay me for my economic concepts, thus I am an idiot.