Pitchfork Left Picks New Fight with Obama BECAUSE OF His Success in Prosecuting Wall Street

President Obama nominates Mary Jo White to Chair the SEC. January 2013.

The Obama administration has had unprecedented success in prosecuting financial crimes on Wall Street, but ideological pitchfork-progressives don't think so. Yet, they are irate that SEC Chair Mary Jo White, an Obama appointee, voted to grant waivers from disqualifications to do certain business that comes with those criminal convictions.

Yesterday, Politico reported on "progressive" discontent with President Obama's SEC Chair, Mary Jo White, with the self-style racketeering... I mean Lefty group Credo calling for the firing of White. White has earned Credo's ire for issuing routine waivers to banks that have pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges to conduct business.

With its attack on White, whose term ends in 2019, the group is hoping to stir up populist anger against what until now has been a little-watched regulatory practice. When companies settle charges that they violated SEC rules, they apply for waivers allowing them to continue doing certain lines of business that would otherwise be prohibited. Over the objections of the SEC’s Democrats, White has voted with the SEC’s two Republicans to approve waivers for companies at least 11 times this year.

This of course doesn't paint the full picture, and we will get into it, but let's first consider Credo's petition to fire Mary Jo White (something I will not link to but one can easily find on the Google machine). Like everything else for these modern day wanna-be Wall Street cops, things begin and end with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (but they're not a cult or anything). According to Credo, they "agree" with Warren that White (and by extension and inference, the administration) has "let criminal activity [from financial institutions] go unpunished" by granting those waivers.

Credo of course doesn't get into pesky facts like how Elizabeth Warren voted to confirm Mary Jo White in the Senate Banking Committee and raised no objection when the full Senate confirmed her by unanimous consent. Because, you know, that would be inconvenient. And embarrassing.

There are other pesky facts Credo doesn't care about. Like any intelligent reading of their own complaint reeks of panic-button-fundraising. Take the charge that White should be fired because she's letting criminal activity go unpunished. How do we know there were criminal activity?

Because President Obama's Justice Department prosecuted and secured guilty pleas - that is, admissions of criminal wrongdoing - along with the largest financial penalties the industry has ever seen. That's not just me saying it, Credo, if unwittingly, admits it. From Politico:

[Credo Action Political Director Becky] Bond said the issue caught CREDO’s attention in May when Democratic SEC Commissioner Kara Stein blasted her colleagues for granting waivers to five banks that pleaded guilty to criminal charges of rigging foreign exchange markets. White voted with the Republicans to approve the waivers, which make it easier for companies to do routine market business.

“The waiver thing just pushed us over the edge,” Bond said.

Luckily, said blasting is available on the SEC's website. Stein dissented to waivers granted to certain banks including Barclays, Citigroup, Chase an UBS. Here is what Becky Bond says got Becky Bond's attention so much that she made it her mission to fire the Chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The disqualifications were triggered for generally the same behavior: a criminal conspiracy to manipulate exchange rates in the foreign currency exchange spot market (“FX Spot Market”), a global market for buying and selling currencies.

How do we know all that? Because the banks admitted to it. Stein's detailed dissent helpfully includes documentation on each of the historic plea deals as the banks plead guilty to felonies, as well as s a summary letter posted on the DOJ website outlining the success of federal prosecutors. The announcement lists penalties totaling $5.5 billion from these institutions, representing the largest ever antitrust settlement in US history.

That happened this year. In Fiscal Year 2014 alone, the DOJ had collected a staggering $24 billion in civil and criminal penalties from the nation's big financial players.

So much for the "Obama is weak on Wall Street" shenanigans. But there I go again, pointing out inconvenient facts for Credo and its band of pitchfork liberals.

I digress.

The point of mentioning all of this is not to simply point out the hypocritical nature of the Pitchfork-Progressives who at once beat up on the president for not prosecuting banks and then turn around and demand the resignation of an SEC chair who granted some waivers to banks that were prosecuted that pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

The point is also that because of these historic settlements, those voting to grant the waivers have argued that the banks had received their punishments. While there is no reason for a process to be routine for the sake of it being routine, it's likely that financial institutions implicitly expected the process elsewhere to work as usual when they pleaded guilty to financial crimes. To top it off, the SEC in fact does not grant most waivers requested, and a lot of the times, the waiver-areas had nothing whatsoever to do with the crimes the banks were pleading guilty to, either.

The truth is that Elizabeth Warren was a law professor, not a prosecutor, which Mary Jo White had been. She knows a thing or two about criminal prosecutions, and that criminal prosecutions and settlements are not as simple as frogmarching bank executives. It's doubtful that the banks would have admitted to the criminal wrongdoings, dragging out prosecutions which could or could not have gone so well (especially given the corporate leanings of our current Chief Justice) and wasting a lot of taxpayer resources when the banks were already cornered to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and pay the largest fines in history, if they could not conduct business. The battle would have become one of survival rather than of restitution.

The idiotic proxy fight the pitchfork liberals are picking with the President via Mary Jo White is nothing more than an attempt to reignite the big red DONATE button (don't take my word, go see that petition and see what it asks you to do after you sign it) by playing on their age-old lie that the Obama administration has been soft on financial criminals. What they want is bad cops only on Wall Street. It's stupid, it's counterproductive, and it's time for real progressives to kick Credo in the nuts.

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