March 11, 2013 - Within recent months, two media events captured the attention of many Americans: the premier of the Spielberg movie “Lincoln,” showcasing the 19th century federal government’s ability to end our nation’s crime against humanity; and, the airing of the PBS Frontline series “The Untouchables”, showcasing the inability of the twenty-first century federal government to prosecute those responsible for our nation’s largest financial crime spree.
Now, the public watches mindless budgetary slashing of federal regulatory agencies – already underfunded and understaffed – charged with enforcing civil and voting rights and financial laws. And this “sequestration” proceeds at a time of widespread attempts to suppress people of color’s ability to cast ballots in federal elections, and financial fraud and abuse robbing and cutting the savings and assets of tens of millions of Americans.
November 8, 2012 - The term “freebooter,” derived from the Dutch vrijbuiter, means one who openly steals property. Once freebooters sailed from free ports such as Port Royal, Jamaica, taking what they wished with little or no consequences because authorities granted them immunity.
Today, a federal appeals court may determine if the United States has become the largest such free port for swindlers in modern history. At issue is the Supreme Court’s controversial 2010 decision (Morrison v. National Australia Bank), that provides immunity from investor accountability to off-shore shysters preying on Americans as well as on-shore fraudsters plundering foreigners as long as the fraudulent transactions take place outside the USA or involve securities listed overseas.
October 8, 2012 - Although most “fiscal cliff” rhetoric concerns Defense cuts, Congressional budgetary intransigence could push federal investor protection agencies off the cliff come January 1. Barring Congressional action, automatic cuts in all Federal programs will occur January 1. These include the Securities and Exchange Commission (a $115 million reduction), Commodity Futures Trading Commission ($17 million on the chopping block), federal courts ($384 million at risk), Public Accounting Oversight Board ($18 million) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation ($23 million). In sum, $557 million would be cut from investor protection programs.
May 11, 2012 - SEC disagrees with Supreme Court’s anti-U.S. Investor Morrison decision and favors clearly defined private right of action against foreign wrongdoers, rather than abolition of U.S. investors’ legal rights, SEC Staff Study asserts.
April 4, 2012 - To-date, the presidential primaries have studiously avoided reference to the unfolding catastrophe brought to the American public just four years ago by the financial services industry. The political issues contested thus far bring to mind Hunter Thompson’s reporting of the 1972 election campaign: “This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns . . .”
(See: “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail, 1972,” by Hunter S. Thompson)
March 1, 2012 --Inexplicably, the SEC is more than a month overdue in meeting its statutory responsibility to advise Congress whether or not to protect U.S. investors or leave in-place Morrison’s shield for foreign corporate wrongdoers against U.S. investor accountability.
September 21, 2011 -- Risking “household wealth catastrophe” by hamstringing SEC enforcement to “liberate” small business from regulated financiers.
February 28, 2011 -- Twenty-four hours after the so-called “Flash-Crash” panel of economic and Wall Street experts on February 18 called on the SEC to expand its research and rule-making activity to help avert a repeat of the May 6, 2010 market plunge that wiped out more than $800 billion in shareholder value in a few minutes, the U.S. House of Representatives cut that agency’s budget by $25 million for the remainder of 2011. In response the agency has put on-hold planned modernization of IT systems and new hires, according to Federal Times.
Sept. 13, 2010 -- In a recent FINANCIAL TIMES op-ed, George Washington University professor of business law, Theodore Rhinehart, joined the numerous attorneys, economists and academics decrying the Securities and Exchange Commission’s $550 million settlement with Goldman Sachs of civil fraud charges in the sale of subprime mortgage related securities and contracts sold at the beginning of the U.S. housing and financial meltdowns.