I don’t think there was much reason to wonder about the relative toothlessness of the series of hearings with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. The banks own the place, after all, and Dimon is a majority owner rather than a minority one. So while he got a bit more roughed up today, ultimately the hearings were always going to be a mostly irrelevant circumstance.
In case you needed more evidence of this, check out this gossip in Beltway gossip rag Politico:
One of New York’s top hedge fund managers got an unusual request from Sen. Chuck Schumer recently: Could he organize a private dinner so the senator could meet Wall Street executives from across the political spectrum?
“It was very candid,” Bill Ackman, the head of the multibillion-dollar hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, said of the dinner.
Schumer in recent months has been on a fence-mending campaign with senior Wall Street executives, many of whom have grown furious with the Democratic Party […] So the senator who wants to be seen as a friend to Wall Street has been engaged in an intense effort to rebuild trust with the industry that financed the 2006 and 2008 Democratic Senate campaigns. Schumer has been holding private dinners, organizing high-end fundraisers for Democratic candidates and quietly pressing for super PAC donations.
This was pretty evident in Schumer’s muted questioning of Dimon last week, and his complete unwillingness to capitalize on anything said at the hearing. Normally you wouldn’t be able to keep Schumer away from a microphone when a high-profile witness came to Capitol Hill. Not so here.
Schumer’s “listening tour” has paid some minor dividends, according to the article. He’s managed to get six different fundraisers for Democratic candidates featuring hedge fund and private equity managers. So don’t expect the new class next year to look all that different from the old class.
When unions declined in importance and institutional muscle, Democrats gravitated to Wall Street for their campaign funds. There really isn’t any other industry available to take its place. So you either reduce the cost of elections or expect bought government for the foreseeable future.