- Stock analyst in India puts out a “sell” recommendation, is arrested and jailed [W$J, compare Argentina economists]
- Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio, Messrs. Dodd, Frank, & Co.: London thanks you! (It’s now back on top over NYC as most-desired financial center.) [Business Insider]
- Amid court setbacks, SEC says it might tinker with its use of in-house administrative judges after all [David Michaels, Bloomberg]
- “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Arbitration Study: A Summary and Critique” [Jason Scott Johnston and Todd Zywicki, SSRN]
- “Rand Paul and Five Expats Sue the Feds Over FATCA” [Matt Welch, Reason, earlier on this exceedingly bad law]
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) came to Cato and spoke, that’s not a punch line setup but a real thing that happened [Tom Clougherty, more on Warren-Vitter and “too big to fail”]
- Use credit responsibly? Sucker! NYC first city to follow state trend toward banning employer use of credit history in hiring [Jennifer Mora, David Warner, and Rod Fliegel, Littler this spring]
Financial economists and fans of old murder mysteries know about tontines. Was the law too hasty in banning them? [Jeff Guo, Washington Post “WonkBlog”]
- Marcia Narine on D.C. Circuit’s recent ruling striking down part of Dodd-Frank conflict mineral disclosure rule [Business Law Prof]
- More on suit challenging constitutionality of FATCA, the law complicating many expatriates’ lives [Paul Mirengoff, PowerLine]
- “Jury Will Put A Price On Terrorism — And Stick A Bank With The Bill” [Daniel Fisher, Reuters on Arab Bank settlement]
- Operation Choke Point: “How a program meant to stamp out fraud has put a stranglehold on legitimate industries” [Reason TV video, AmmoLand on markup of Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s anti-Choke-Point Financial Institution Customer Protection Act]
- Federal Reserve’s denial of core banking services to Colorado cannabis businesses: consistent with its authorizing statutes? [George Selgin/Cato, related from me on RICO suit against bankers, bonders, and others interacting with the industry]
- “A financial system based not on … charging interest for lending … but on traditional social values”: Russia’s Orthodox Church backs interest-avoiding finance system akin to Islamic sharia finance [Bloomberg, Moscow Times]
- Two popular views in tension with each other: “Wall Street = short term thinking” and “Wall Street spins meager current earnings into bubbles” [Kevin Erdmann via Tyler Cowen]
- “But the questions of fairness are real and seem to be bolstered by the S.E.C.’s win/loss record in its home court versus its performance in district courts.” [Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times, earlier here, etc.]
- With Greece as with subprime crisis, same regulators who messed up credit markets will probably ask for and get more power [Arnold Kling]
- “In fact an AIG-and-taxpayer bailout of Wall Street firms engineered by government officials and Wall Street professionals with deep and ignored conflicts of interest” [Lawrence Cunningham, National Interest via Bainbridge]
- CSR by way of SEC? “Disclosure Rules Are the Wrong Way to Push Social Change” [Thaya Knight, American Banker/Cato]
- “Supreme Court Blasts Maryland Taxman’s Double-Dipping” [Elizabeth BeShears, Heartland on this year’s Supreme Court decision in Comptroller v. Wynne, I’m quoted]
- Dodd-Frank: “Are State Regulators A Source of Systemic Risk?” [Mark Calabria, Cato]
- Feds’ latest round of mega-settlements against banks prompts usual demands to jail execs. Is it really that simple? [Scott Greenfield]
- Home-court advantage: SEC wins against defendants 90 percent of the time when it litigates before its own judges [Jean Eaglesham/W$J, Thaya Knight/Cato, earlier]
- Oops! “Corporate Inversions Increase U.S. Tax Revenues” [Rita Nevada Gunn and Thomas Lys/SSRN via Paul Caron/TaxProf, related, earlier]
- “How U.S. rules on conflict minerals are making life worse for desperately poor people in war-torn Congo” [Politico, earlier]
- “Lock up the banksters.” “Lock up the drug dealers.” Dara Lind spots some populist parallels [Vox]
- Should bank boards owe fiduciary duty to regulatory as well as investor interests? [Marc Hodak]
- “Nobody’s Worried About ‘Too Big to Jail’ Any More” [Matt Levine/Bloomberg View] “Hunting Whales: The Problem With Prosecuting SIFIS” [Thaya Knight/Cato]
- Luigi Zingales: market economists need to address question of when and how finance sector goes wrong, or others will do it for them [“Does Finance Benefit Society?“, presidential address to American Finance Association, Buttonwood/Economist, Arnold Kling]
- Critics say by naming payment processors in massive enforcement action over debt collection practices, CFPB is implementing its own version of Operation Choke Point [Kent Hoover/Business Journals; Barbara Mishkin, Ballard Spahr; Iain Murray, CEI]
- Green sprout in Amish country: “Bank of Bird-in-Hand is the only new bank to open in the U.S. since 2010, when the Dodd-Frank law was passed” [WSJ via Tyler Cowen; Kevin Funnell on smothering of new (de novo) bank formation; Ira Stoll (auto-plays ad) on growth of non-bank lenders]
- “Quicken Loans Sues DOJ; Claims ‘Political Agenda’ Driving Pressure to Settle” [W$J; J.C. Reindl, Detroit Free Press]
- Shocker: after years of Sen. Warren’s tongue-lashings, some banks consider not giving to Democrats. Is that even legal? [Reuters] “Elizabeth Warren’s Extraordinarily Bad Idea For A Financial Transactions Tax” [Tim Worstall]
- Still raging on: Delaware debate about fee-shifting corporate bylaws as deterrent to low-value shareholder litigation [Prof. Bainbridge first, second, third posts]
- “How a Business Owner Becomes Criminally Liable for How Customers Spend ATM Withdrawals” [Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason]
- New York financial regulator pushes to install government monitors at firms where no misconduct has been legally established [Robert Anello, Forbes]
I’ve got a new post up at Cato at Liberty about the Second Circuit’s sharply worded dismissal of two insider trading convictions, which alas came too late to avoid massive damage to the enterprises and people concerned. Quoting NYT “DealBook”:
The dismissal of the case also raises questions about the November 2010 raids of Level Global and Diamondback Capital Management by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Soon after the raid on Level Global, the hedge fund, which was started by Mr. Chiasson and David Ganek, shut down, in part because of requests by investors to redeem their money after the raid. Mr. Ganek was never charged with any wrongdoing by federal authorities.
Diamondback, where Mr. Newman was a portfolio manager, continued to operate for another two years, but it decided to close its doors in December 2012 after receiving a wave of investor redemptions.
Mr. Ganek chided the government in a statement on Wednesday. “For the dozens of my high-integrity colleagues at Level Global who lost their jobs and their reputations because the F.B.I. improperly raided our firm in this now-discredited fishing expedition, today’s legal vindication is a reminder how prosecutorial recklessness has real impact on real people,” he said.
Raids, as opposed to subpoenas and other dull ways of obtaining information sought in an investigation, are irresistible to the press — and they greatly reinforce the public impression that there must have been serious wrongdoing at a target enterprise. That in turn can spell doom especially for financial undertakings, whose business will often be built on client and public trust. And if the case subsequently fails to stick by the evidence or the law, well, it’s on to the next prosecution, right?
House Republicans want answers on how federal agencies’ mega-settlements with issuers of mortgage-backed securities came to include tens of millions of dollars in payments to “housing counseling” groups allied with the Obama Administration [DS News] Earlier on banks’ payments to activists here, here, etc.
“The Justice Department has a suggestion for banks hoping to avoid criminal charges: Rat out your employees.” By agreeing to throw individuals under the bus, the company as a whole will qualify for valuable cooperation credits. [Ben Protess, New York Times “DealBook”] On a similar culture-of-informants theme, Eric Holder is proposing to further boost bounties for Wall Street informants into more massive contingency-fee territory: “Mr. Holder will urge Congress to allow bigger whistleblower rewards under the 1989 Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act…. Current law caps any Firrea whistleblower payment at $1.6 million.” [Wall Street Journal, earlier coverage and specifically]
On July 24 Cato held a book forum on Sidney Powell’s new book, “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice” (earlier). Participants included the author Sidney Powell, with comments by Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and Ronald Weich, Dean, University of Baltimore Law School. My colleague Tim Lynch, who directs Cato’s work on criminal justice issues, moderated. From the description:
In Licensed to Lie, attorney Sidney Powell takes readers through a series of disturbing events, missteps, and cover-ups in our federal criminal justice system. According to Powell, the malfeasance stretches across all three branches of our government — from the White House to the U.S. Senate, to members of the judiciary. Even worse, the law itself is becoming pernicious. Americans can now be prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned for actions that are not crimes. And if acquitted, there is no recourse against prosecutors who hid evidence vital to the defense.
Powell gives a detailed account of the prosecution and imprisonment of individual executives of well-known firms such as Merrill Lynch based on creative new theories of criminal liability, following dubious prosecutorial conduct including the withholding of evidence favorable to the defense, so-called Brady violations.