Financial Industry Takes Hundreds of Millions in Tax Write-Offs from Penalties in Fraud Settlements

By: Monday October 15, 2012 11:37 am

Often, I get complaints that focusing on criminal penalties for financial fraud is for some reason unrealistic, and that settlements can themselves be meaningful if they cause the offending party some economic pain. This overlooks several points. First, no executive ever pays out these settlements; they basically come out of reserves, and the most that [...]

BP Haggling With Government Over Penalty for Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

By: Monday October 1, 2012 7:03 am

The US government has still not reached a settlement with BP over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, though talks continue.

Israel’s Barak Calls for Unilateral Withdrawal From Parts of West Bank

By: Monday September 24, 2012 1:42 pm

In the US press, a big story on the Middle East today is another ignorant comment by the President of Iran, who holds very little power in the Islamic Republic relative to the Supreme Leader. But the really big story comes out of Israel, where Defense Minister Ehud Barak called for a settlement pullout from [...]

Justice Department Accuses BP of “Gross Negligence” in Oil Disaster

By: Wednesday September 5, 2012 6:58 am

The Justice Department, which has been more active in closing cases than pursuing them lately, has accused BP of “gross negligence” in a court filing. The language has a very particular significance; if successful, BP would owe quadruple the amount of damages under the Clean Water Act, which could lead to a total of $21 [...]

Judge Jed Rakoff Berates SEC for Secret Settlement Deals, in Judicial Filing

By: Wednesday August 15, 2012 11:53 am

I’m actually really enjoying the last stand of Jed Rakoff. He’s the federal judge who has engaged in a lonely crusade against the SEC’s practice of slap-on-the-wrist settlements against the nation’s largest financial firms. The SEC and Citigroup took Rakoff to court, essentially, to get their settlement on some mortgage-backed securities deals approved. Rakoff refused [...]

Waters Challenges Khuzami on Securitization Fraud Task Force, Gets Revealing Answers

By: Friday May 18, 2012 8:17 am

I don’t know how House Democrats managed to get a hearing in the Financial Services Committee on the SEC’s tendency to settle with financial firms and allowing the companies to get off without admitting wrongdoing, but I’m glad they did. This put Financial Services Committee chair Spencer Bachus (R-AL) in the unusual position of saying [...]

Abbas Confirmed Palestinian Statehood Effort at UN General Assembly

By: Tuesday September 6, 2011 6:50 am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally announced that Palestine will seek recognition as an official state from the United Nations General Assembly this month, setting up a major battle that both Israel and the United States hoped to avoid. But Abbas wanted to also negotiate a peace deal with Israel on a parallel track, while [...]

US Vetoes UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements

By: Friday February 18, 2011 1:42 pm

At the United Nations, the Obama Administration engaged in their first-ever Security Council veto today, on a resolution that would have declared Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders “illegal” and called for an immediate end to construction. The 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution in Friday’s vote. The Obama administration’s [...]

Bipartisanship Lives: Cantor, Hoyer Seek Block of UN Resolution on Palestinian Settlements

By: Friday January 28, 2011 8:48 am

Never let it be said that both parties can’t get themselves together and pass legislation when it suits them. When the rich needed a tax cut, Democrats and Republicans were there. When the banks needed a bailout, it took a while, but bipartisanship ruled the day. And when Israel is threatened with anything resembling a [...]

Hopes for Middle East Peace Fade as US Drops Settlement Freeze Demand

By: Wednesday December 8, 2010 7:04 am

Unable to convince the Likudnik government, the US has dropped its call for a settlement freeze in the occupied territories, ending any plans for continued peace talks between Israel and Palestine. Direct talks brokered by Washington were relaunched in September but broke down over the issue of settlements built on captured land that Palestinians seek [...]

Israel Continues Settlement Construction in East Jerusalem

By: Tuesday November 9, 2010 6:56 am

We haven’t heard much from those Middle East peace talks lately. That’s because they are functionally dead, I gather, based on the new focus of Israeli settlement building. Setting the stage for another potential clash with the Obama administration, Israel said Monday that it would build an additional 1,300 homes on disputed land in East [...]

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