Since when do subjects of an investigation get a private meeting with the Attorney General of the United States? Since that Attorney General is a former (and likely future) Wall Street lawyer. US AG Eric Holder decided to break protocol and have a personal one on one meeting with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. The meeting came amidst a Department of Justice investigation into JPMorgan and Dimon related to a slew of criminality the Too Big To Fail bank had engaged in prior to, during, and after the 2008 financial crisis.
BILL MOYERS: Do you find it remarkable – Jamie Dimon asking for a personal meeting with the Attorney General, Eric Holder to decide, in private, on a penalty?…
GRETCHEN MORGENSON: It seems unusual to me and it does smack of favoritism, special treatment. It certainly was unusual I would say for Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States of America, to have a personal meeting with someone that his office is negotiating a settlement with. That raised eyebrows with me. I know I would not be able to get that meeting if I asked – and if I implored.
I think it really sends a signal, also which is disturbing that again – two sets of rules in America. There’s one set for the people who are in positions of power, certainly in the financial world – one set of rules perhaps for them. And one set for the rest of us. I really don’t understand why Eric Holder would not have decided that it was the optics just didn’t look that good for him to meet with Jamie Dimon, but maybe there is something behind it that I don’t know.
Morgenson was not the only one surprised by the meeting. As Moyers referenced in the interview, Michael Hirsh of the National Journal was also amazed that Dimon was able to summon Attorney General Holder for a “personal summit” to settle charges against the company he leads.
The rule of Wall Street on public display.
Consider the odd spectacle of Dimon reaching out like a potentate to Eric Holder, asking for a personal meeting in which the two of them could hash out the penalty in private. The head of a bank and the attorney general of the United States held, in other words, a kind of personal “summit” meeting. Such a pact would only have been possible if the government of the United States is itself afraid of disturbing the operations of the bank—and in fact Holder admitted just that back in March when he warned that the biggest banks have grown not only too big to fail, but too big to prosecute.
Too Big To Jail and more than big enough to make personal demands on the chief law enforcement officer of the land. The signal could not be clearer – AG Holder follows the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.
With Holder bowing to Wall Street and having private meetings with banksters is it any wonder he opposes transparency?