The leading purveyor of this line is the
It would be pretty damning if that's what really caused JPMorgan's regulatory problems. But does the argument hold water? Here's the short answer: no.
And here are some details, drawn from the 10-page list of Morgan's legal problems in its last annual report.
To begin with, it would probably take a superhuman coordinating effort to get all the federal agencies gunning for JPM to work together. A partial list includes:
What's also overlooked is that many of the investigations costing JPMorgan its billions in settlement costs weren't started by the federal government at all. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission slapped the bank with a $400-million penalty for manipulating the California energy markets, but the complaint FERC acted on came originally from the California Independent System Operator, the agency that found its own markets being manipulated.
How about the criminal charges faced by two Morgan employees over fraud committed in Italy? That complaint came from the city of Milan. Morgan's alleged complicity in
The celebrated London Whale disaster, which has cost JPMorgan roughly $10 billion in trading losses and penalties, is being investigated by Britain's Financial Services Authority, among many other regulators. Among the charges is that JPMorgan made false and misleading statements about the disaster. It's hard to imagine, of course, that President Obama or his minions tricked Dimon into calling the huge loss "a tempest in a teapot." But he did.
Then there's the scam JPMorgan and other banks perpetrated in the auction-rate securities market just before the 2008 financial crisis. That investigation was launched by then-New York Atty. Gen. (now governor)
Finally, there's the ongoing investigation of the manipulation of the LIBOR market by JPMorgan and other banks. (LIBOR is an international interest-rate benchmark.) The investigating agencies there, including several state attorneys general, the European Commission, the British Financial Services Authority and the government of Switzerland.
The shocking thing is that this isn't even a complete list. But does it tell you that JPMorgan's ills are the result of animosity from the Obama administration? The regulators and prosecutors haring off after JPMorgan aren't all federal, they aren't all Democrats, and they aren't even all American. Even if people in the White House were out to get Morgan and Dimon, they would have to get in line.