Thursday, May 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: JPMorgan misdeeds deserve more than a big fine

Only in the financial industry can a giant-size fraud be wiped away by writing a big enough check. A whopper settlement deal is in the works in which JPMorgan Chase would pay a record $11 billion or more to the Justice Department to end federal investigations into its behavior in the runup to the financial crisis. But if the settlement is to serve as a warning for the rest of the financial industry, it must include an admission of wrongdoing and hold open the possibility that individuals be held personally responsible.

A recent meeting between Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan's chief, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder demonstrates how spooked Wall Street gets when the government takes seriously its duty to enforce laws against misleading and cheating investors. Now the department should press its advantage, not just by jacking up the dollar figure but by requiring admissions by the firm and personal liability for some. The financiers on Wall Street got fabulously rich by packaging, rating and selling securities that many knew were worthless. It is infuriating that they have not been prosecuted.

JPMorgan is in the middle of a campaign to get out from under the crush of litigation and regulatory investigations. Just weeks ago the firm agreed to pay about $920 million in penalties to government regulators over its lack of internal oversight controls that led to $6.2 billion in "London Whale" trading losses last year. In that settlement it did admit wrongdoing. But the pattern in settlements between the government and banks involved in wrongdoing associated with the financial crisis has been a form of checkbook justice. Write a large check and buy yourself out of trouble. For instance, in 2010 Goldman Sachs paid $550 million to settle charges of materially misleading investors in the sale of mortgage-related securities. It admitted no wrongdoing.

An $11 billion settlement is significant, but it doesn't come close to making up for the financial damage caused by the sale of toxic mortgage securities. It is also unfair that the people who sold investments they allegedly knew were junk will escape with their millions intact. Government-imposed fines and penalties would come from the firm's shareholders and potentially taxpayers, since the payout could be tax-deductible.

If Holder wants his legacy to be something other than letting Wall Street off the hook, he will need to extract something beyond a big check. He cannot allow JPMorgan to walk away from its misdeeds without the kind of accountability that people who don't have billions of dollars at their disposal would face.

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Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18