The Farce Must Go On: Senate Suddenly Furious With Eric Holder For Allowing Banks To Become "Too Big To Jail"

Tyler Durden's picture

Or what happens when Wall Street Muppet A is vewy, vewy angwy with Wall Street Muppet B and desperately needs a ratings boost.

* * *

Straight from the best Senate Wall Street taxpayer bailout money and Fed excess reserves (by way of deficit monetization) can buy:

Sens. Brown, Grassley Press Justice Department On "Too Big To Jail"

Senators Question Whether “Too Big to Fail” Status of Some Wall Street Megabanks Undermines Government’s Ability to Prosecute Large Financial Institutions, Impose Appropriate Penalties

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter today to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder questioning whether the “too big to fail” status of certain Wall Street megabanks undermines the ability of the federal government to prosecute wrongdoing and impose appropriate penalties.  They also requested that the Justice Department disclose the identities of parties with whom prosecutors consult about the appropriate level of penalties for financial institutions.

“Wall Street megabanks aren’t just too big to fail, they’re increasingly too big to jail,” Brown said. “Already, the nation’s six largest megabanks enjoy what amounts to taxpayer-funded guarantee by virtue of their size, making it harder for regional and community banks to compete. Now, these megabanks may also enjoy some impunity when they violate the law by laundering money or illegally foreclosing on homeowners.  Wall Street should pay the full price of its wrongdoing, not pass the costs along to taxpayers.”

“The best deterrent to crime is to put people in prison,” Grassley said.  “That includes those at powerful banks and corporations.  Unfortunately, we’ve seen little willingness to charge these individuals criminally.  The public deserves an explanation of how the Justice Department arrives at these decisions.”

Brown, who chairs the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, is the author the Safe, Accountable, Fair & Efficient (SAFE) Banking Act, legislation that would prevent any one financial institution from becoming so large and overleveraged that its collapse could put our economy on the brink of collapse or trigger the need for a federal bailout. He also passed legislation with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to requiring the Government Accountability Office to study how banks with assets of $500 billion or more benefit from the belief that the government would not let them fail in a crisis.

As Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Grassley has been critical of the Justice Department’s decisions against holding people criminally accountable in financial cases.  He called the Justice Department’s decision to forego any criminal prosecution of HSBC officials involved in that money laundering scandal inexcusable.  And he has questioned the Justice Department about the number of mortgage fraud cases brought forward, revealing a failure to bring significant criminal cases against any of the major banks or financial institutions that have faced civil actions for various frauds. Grassley is the author of the Fraud Enforcement Recovery Act, signed into law in 2009, that was designed to ramp up the government’s response to the crisis and ensure that prosecutors and investigators had the tools needed to combat fraud.

The full text of the letter from Brown and Grassley to Holder can be found below.

January 29, 2013
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.   
United States Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530


Dear Attorney General Holder:


The large number of private and government lawsuits since the global financial crisis continues to undermine public confidence in our financial markets.  This confidence can only be restored by demonstrating that there are consistent rules in place that provide accountability for wrongdoing and deter financial predators.


Unfortunately, many of the settlements between large financial institutions and the federal government involve penalties that are disproportionately low, both in relation to the profits which resulted from those wrongful actions as well as in relation to the costs imposed upon consumers, investors, and the market.


The nature of these settlements has fostered concerns that “too big to fail” Wall Street banks enjoy a favored status, in statute and in enforcement policy.  This perception undermines the public’s confidence in our institutions and in the principal that the law is applied equally in all cases.


On settling with Swiss Bank UBS for Libor manipulation, for example, you said, “[t]he impact on the stability of the financial markets around the world is something we take into consideration.  We reach out to experts outside of the Justice Department to talk about what are the consequences of actions that we might take, what would be the impact of those actions if we want to make particular prosecutive decisions or determinations with regard to a particular institution.”


In an interview with Frontline, outgoing Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer defended the Department of Justice’s inability to prosecute large financial institutions by saying, “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, 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.”


These statements raise important questions about the Justice Department’s prosecutorial philosophy.  In order to explore the Justice Department’s treatment of potential criminal activity by large financial institutions, please answer the following questions and provide the following information:


1. Has the Justice Department designated certain institutions whose failure could jeopardize the stability of the financial markets and are thus, “too big to jail”?  If so, please name them.


2. Has the Justice Department ever failed to bring a prosecution against an institution due to concern that their failure could jeopardize financial markets?


3. Are there any entities the Justice Department has entered into settlements with, in which the amount of the settlement reflected a concern that markets could be impacted by such a settlement?  If so, for which entities?


4. Please provide the names of all outside experts consulted by the Justice Department in making prosecutorial decisions regarding financial institutions with over $1 billion in assets.


5. Please provide any compensation contracts for these individuals.


6. How did DOJ ensure that these experts provided unconflicted and unbiased advice to DOJ?


Our markets will only function efficiently if participants believe that all laws will be enforced consistently, and that violators will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.  There should not be one set of rules that apply to Wall Street and another set for the rest of us.


Thank you for your cooperation and attention in this matter.  We would appreciate a response by February 8, 2013.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Graham Steele for Senator Brown at (202) 224-2315 or Chris Lucas for Ranking Member Grassley at (202) 224-5225.



Sherrod Brown                                                  Charles E. Grassley

Chairman                                                        Ranking Member

Banking Committee,                                          Judiciary Committee

Subcommittee on Financial Institutions

and Consumer Protection


Don't make the muppets angry. You won't like them when they're angry.

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Groundhog Day's picture

Fuck you bernanke, dimon, loydfein etc ec

krispkritter's picture

I see a hot tub in their futures...PlaceHolder ain't even gonna blink...

CPL's picture

Long hookers and blow.

gmrpeabody's picture

Eric Holder should be prosecuting himself....

flacon's picture

Q: Department of JUSTICE falls under which of the four branches of US Government? JUDICIAL, EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE, OR BANKING?


A: If you answered Executive you can give yourself a pat on the back. If you answered Judicial then you need to ask yourself why is the DOJ not part of the Judicial branch..... 

Lord Blankcheck's picture

Banking is not a branch of government, it is the TRUNK of the tree!

Troll Magnet's picture

What the fuck is wrong with you all? This is GREAT news! Now, Obama, Eric Holder, Donkey Kong and Michael Jackson are ON IT!  THEY GOT THIS!  Woo hoo!  Liberty and Justice for All, Bitchez!!!  

Manthong's picture

I’m sure the DOJ will snap to and step up for truth, justice and the American way..

just like in Fast and Furious, the Black Panther polling intimidation and the obvious phony birth certificate posting.

economics9698's picture

Fucking clowns need to pack their shit and go away.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Everyone knows that a lot will come of this.  People will go to jail.  There will be heads on pikes.  Yeah, right.

Skateboarder's picture

Pardon, did you say something? I was too busy staring at my iCrap. Even if you did, I doubt it was as important as what my screen was delighting me with. Something about banks? Yeah... I overdrafted on my checking out the other day and they were like "you owe us 35 bucks," and I'm all like "dude I don't have 35 bucks lol, why do you think I overdrafted?" Whatever...

*goes back to staring at iCrap*

cynicalskeptic's picture

u gotta stop paying for porn on your iCrap - plenty of free stuff out there.....

Harlequin001's picture

Hang on, I thought the job of preventing banks from becoming too big to fail fell to Bernanke.


GetZeeGold's picture


Bernanke doesn't work for the government....screw your head on straight amigo.

WTFUD's picture

oh yes he does; oh no he doesn't; oh yes he fucking does!
maybe not in legal term but in Real terms.
who be gubbament?

Ghordius's picture

nope. the job of making sure that banks don't grow like cancer lies in congress - the lawmakers (who are elected by the people)

who did the job, loooong time ago, also by segregating the various kinds of banks - retail, merchant/investment, etc

then we had a wave of "this is nonsense, banks can regulate themselves", spearheaded by people like Greenspan - who nearly nobody attacks here because he was leaning libertarian

Clinton signed the death-to-bank-regulation laws in 1999, though Reagan did his part earlier with the resolution of the Savings & Loans crisis

the FED's job in banking is only to be the hands-on regulator and the "lender of last resort" - a very ambiguos term

zhandax's picture

'Tis but a soundbite (aimed at your favorite 'continue the ponzi' outlet)....

FEDbuster's picture

As long as Jon Corzine is free, there is no rule of law.

disabledvet's picture

Yep...having said that "what's the news here?" British Petroleum was charged with criminal negligence. And how is Mr.'Petroleum doing in hooch gow? "As long as he cuts the check just fine thank you very much." the fact is our extotionate Government is just envious that the Banks found a way to out exort even them. And the answer to what is fundamtenally a question and never an answer at all is "grow the economy stupid." if Government understood how to do anything but take money out of The People's pockets then I would find such rhetoric commendable. Nay, veerily "the banks are just weapons with a far more effective means of taxing" (namely by getting people hooked on credit....with the caveat that all data on said People belongs to them and not the Government.) "Doing more with less" is not some riddle. You OWN(ed?) General Motors Government. If the only lesson you learned from the collapse of 2008 is "oil can never be too over priced" then the loss of a multitude of Federal Agencies should be the EXPECTED outcome. I mean we did RATION commodities ESPECIALLY oil to fight and win WW 2. Would appear we have a policy to do the exact opposite "on our way to victory" this time.

RebelDevil's picture

Or it's more like the law is meant for everyone BUT God's chosen people of bankers, who are doing "God's work".

Shevva's picture

Yer but a few billion people on this planet believe he will have to explain 'Doing GODs work' to GOD at some point.

Remember 'money is evil'.

Totentänzerlied's picture

Yeah him and the whole Bush White House administration. And Clinton's too.

e_goldstein's picture

Who the fuck downvoted you?

Could the honorable asshole actually read ZH?

GetZeeGold's picture



I bet the asshole does.

donsluck's picture

Get a clue. Executive enforces, legislative writes and judicial interprets the law. Do a Google on the Constitution.

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

Get a clue.


  • Executive Orders
  • Lobbyists write
  • Judicial makes it fit


GetZeeGold's picture



It's time to formally give up on the Constitution......and just wing it.


You we have been doing.

Troy Ounce's picture


Just help me, will you: is the word "constitution" one word or two?

onthesquare's picture

spell it anyway you want.  First they steal the words then they change their meaning.  Voltaire?

Pure Evil's picture

Impossible! He's too busy sniffing Moochella's dress shields and Oboomoo's jock strap while watching trannie porn.

kchrisc's picture

Holder, what can be said?!

Here's a man who commits treason with treasonous laws and then violates his own treasonous laws.

I sure wouldn't want to play 'Monopoly' against him.           hujel

Dr. Richard Head's picture

Fuck Sherrod Brown. This is the same fuck that was quoted as receiving over 2,000 calls, emails, faxes, and visits from those opposing TARP. Fucktard voted for it anyways. He knew what was better for us.
He opened that Pandora's box out in front of everyone and against prevailing popular dissent. He can go fist fuck himself at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame as far as I am concerned. Fuck him and his reporter/lobbyist cunt wife.

Dr. Richard Head's picture

And fuck supposed conservative Republican senator opposition that also voted for this too. Band of thieves.

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.


When a Congressman spouts off against TPTB, you can be sure that it is time to renegotiate his keep-quiet contract.  An agent of TPTB will contact these guys soon, and they will STFU.  Either their palms will get more grease, or they will be shown photos or other "evidence" to "encourage" them to STFU.

In any case, these guys will soon STFU.

Redhotfill's picture

+1 for the Monopoly comment!

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Holy moly, this is a BIPARTISAN effort.

Up next a Robert Welch moment.

Just fooling. The bankers are running this show.

Dr. Richard Head's picture

If people had longer attention spans than that which is required to cover a sports season. Those people would remember orchestrated takedowns of markets as a distraction to vote in legislative monsters to keep the ball rolling. Flash crashes during debt ceiling. Flash crashes during audit the fed bills. Flash crashes for bailouts. Flash crashes because Bernanke wipes his ass sideways.

But go ahead and list those atrocities to your neighbor. Most will simply call you a loon.

Vendetta's picture

DoJ could be convicted of obstruction of justice, possibly complicity after the fact

onthesquare's picture

Who convicts the DOJ? and who will care?  If it happened it would take longer than a supreme court judges life span.  The paper work would fill building 7. If anyone was convicted they would be pardoned and given a big bonus.  Vive Le revolution.  It way past getting the train back on the tracks.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Eric Holder should be prosecuting himself....

Eric Holder is prostituting himself....

There, I fixed it for you.


cynicalskeptic's picture

and VERY profitably too......    bet he makes a LOT more than your typical DC 'escort'

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Eric Who won't even look at Biggest P.O.S. on Planet Earth TM Jon Corzine.

No hope until some of these TBTF/TPTB go to jail.  No hope...

bank guy in Brussels's picture

And all those Judiciary Committee people are intensely aware of the 1990s 'unsolved' murder of House Judiciary Committee Congressman Sonny Bono, the singer of Sonny & Cher ...

Tho perhaps abusive to Ms Cher in younger days ... Sonny Bono became a US Congressman on the key House Judiciary Committee with the ability to investigate corruption at America's highest levels

Sonny Bono was murdered in 1998 doing exactly that ... media cover-up claimed it was a 'ski accident' and that excellent skier Sonny went head-on into a tree and died ... totally bogus, even ex-FBI people say it was a murder

Like US Senator Paul Wellstone in 2002, after opposing the US Iraq War ... 'accident'

Or US Congressman Wayne Owens in Israel in 2002, found dead while investigating some Israeli corruption ... 'unsolved'

Or US Federal Judge John Roll shot dead in Arizona in 2011 shortly after ruling against Obama and the US gov't ... drugged up 'lone gunman' promptly supplied, 'confessing' and otherwise barely seen

Radical Marijuana's picture

YES! The assassination of politicians who refused to be puppets is the most important way that the system of covert organized crime could take control of the government, and lead us to the state we are in today. The same things as John Perkins writes about "economic hitmen" and the "jackals" operating in other countries already operated within the USA. The methods of organized crimes, such as bribery, intimidation, as well as sometimes assassinations, have been happening for more than Century, in the USA, automatically getting worse, as they became more successful.

The fundamental system is based on FRAUD, backed up by the force of government. The basic financial system is ALL LEGALIZED LIES, BACKED BY LEGALIZED VIOLENCE. There is nothing about the established privatized, fiat money-as-debt system which is not the result of triumphant organized crime controlling the government, to legalize the counterfeiting of the nation's money supply, for the benefit of the criminals.

What this kind of article talks about is the ways that the biggest gangsters, the banksters, can get away with blatantly breaking the laws that still exist, and which theoretically ought to bind them, under the "rule of law." However, the ways that they break the laws are TRIVIAL compared to the ways that they were able to write the laws in the first place! ... As this article implicitly does, there is not much we can do to psychologically cope with that overall situation, than to develop a more macabre sense of humour, in order to gain some relief from laughing at the magnitudes of evil that are being manifested before us.

Legalized criminality is now the totally established basic foundation of the whole system. That is the overall context in which it becomes more and more painfully obvious that the banksters can break the laws, and get away with it. ... However, there is no reasonable way to do anything about that, which I can see, because of the nature of that covert control over government through applying the methods of organized crime becoming totally triumphant, for more than a Century.

Another recent article on Zero Hedge, Why Are American Voters So Uninformed?

reviews some of the superficial personal reasons why the American democratic republic system is already almost dead. However, it is extremely important to look at the overwhelmingly obvious pattern in American history of how, over and over again, the best politicians, that could not be bribed or intimidated, were assassinated. The best historical exception to that was the way that President Andrew Jackson survived assassination attempts, and (aided by a still free press back then), was able to generate and drive the political will to "kill the bank!"

As far as I know, that is the last time that an American politician was successful in arresting the threat from the banksters, and thereby was able to balance the national budget, and pay off the national debt. However, after President Lincoln was assassinated, everything got worse. Silver was demonetized in 1874, through sneaky legislative tricks, driven by the banksters bribing enough politicians. After that, the true "dollar" and real "money" were sapped. More tricks and corruption pushed through the Federal Reserve Board in 1913, which was the total triumph of a privatized FRAUD capturing control over the government, and thereby, backed by public power, getting constantly more wealthy, and more powerful. The banksters were able buy up control over enough of the mass media to direct public opinion, and paid for the most scientific brainwashing that could be bought, to be regularly used against the American people, through every possible institution, such in the schools of every discipline, and their major journals, etc.!

After 1971, the last traces of the original connection of "money" to metal, limited by the material reality of gold, was GONE, and then the almost perfect runaway exponential growth of total debts in the USA took off. Every possible excuse to make more "money" out of nothing, as debts, in bubble after bubble after bubble, was found and justified, one after another!

THUS, WE HAVE A FUNDAMENTALLY FRAUDULENT FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING SYSTEM. It is impossible to reconcile that with physics or biology, and other science based on energy systems, in any other way than that our "money" is simply legalized fraud, due to our governments being totally taken over by the best organized gang of criminals, covertly applying the methods of organized crime, for a long, long time, in order to become almost totally successful at doing that!

& Similar points were made in a recent Max Keiser show:

Burgers, Banksters & Blackholes


All over the Anglo-American world, the vast majority of the people are political idiots. They may be roused to care about trivial things, but the most important things they are clueless about. Of course, that is NOT an accident, but rather the long-term result of the almost total triumph of prolonged organized crime taking control of the government, in ways which have privatized sovereign powers, so that banksters are the new royalty, who have effectively privatized the powers to rob, and to kill to back up their power to rob the rest of the population. Step by step, the triumphs from the application of the principles of organized crime took close to complete control over the entire civilization. The vast majority of the people are forced to pay for the crimes committed against them! 

PRIVATIZED fiat money, made out of nothing, is forced by governments to be accepted by everyone, as the legal tender that they MUST pay their taxes with. The most important episodes in history which reinforced those developments were the assassinations of politicians who refused to become the banksters' puppets. The covert power to kill politicians in the past has been leveraged up to our money system being backed by murder. That was the crucial core of the real history whereby the debt controls depended upon the death controls, BECAUSE MONEY IS BACKED BY MURDER.

Therefore, no "reforms" within those established systems are possible. No return to silver or gold backed money makes sense, since the REAL problem is that money is backed by murder, and therefore, the only genuine solutions MUST be based on radical paradigm shifts in militarism, so that different murder systems could make and maintain different money systems. The only theoretical solutions to the insanity of society becoming totally dominated and controlled by frauds is to face those central social facts, which are the real roles of the death controls, behind the debt controls.

Of course, instead of that happening in any sane ways, because enough people understand, and organized to effectively resist, in order to create a new system, we are now looking at the runaway exponential growth of murders. From assassinations of a few politicians, to mass murders of hundreds and thousands, in staged false flag attacks, we are probably looking at a future where genocidal wars, along with democidal martial law, beyond our imagination get going, and likely go out of control.

The overwhelming vast majority of people continue to be political idiots, and there are no reasonable grounds to believe that will change in the foreseeable future. Instead, the runaway triumph of controlling civilization through the covert methods of organized crime will continue to grow on the same exponential growth curve that it has been on before. Therefore, we will likely see the debt insanities followed by death insanities. The history of mass murders having previously reached the level of tens of millions, adding up to hundreds of millions, could jump up to the billions.

Bit by bit, the assassination of politicians leads to mass murders of more people than we can imagine, because the entire civilization thereby becomes controlled by runaway frauds, backed by force. The path of runaway legalized lies, backed up by legalized violence, which is the essence of the current global financial system, is towards nearly collective omnicides.

monad's picture

My advice to you is to make a list of every 2 bit leech who exploited you while on the public payroll. Then pay them a visit many years from now to talk; and to make they don't mess up their kids.
What goes around, comes around.