Audit Notes: Jamie’s juice, a new Glass Steagall, U-T San Diego

ProPublica documents JPMorgan Chase's extensive ties to a docile Senate Banking Committee

ProPublica has a sweet piece listing the connections between JPMorgan Chase and the Senate Banking Committee, which didn’t exactly grill CEO Jamie Dimon in his appearance today.

Many lawmakers are holding up the losses as evidence of the need for stronger financial regulation. The chairman of the Senate banking committee, Tim Johnson, D-S.D., in his opening remarks, asked for “a full accounting” of JP Morgan’s losses.

But through campaign contributions and well-connected staff, JP Morgan appears to have already taken its own accounting of the Banking committee. Here’s a picture of connections between the company and the committee:

Meantime, American Banker reports that “Dimon Conquers Senate Banking Panel, With Members Help”:

“Schumer is basically asking Dimon for advice on regulation now,” tweeted John Carney, who runs the NetNet blog for CNBC. “It’s regulatory capture happening right before our eyes.”

— The FDIC’s Thomas Hoenig, in one of those token columns The Wall Street Journal editorial pages hand out here and there to proponents of things like government, calls for a new Glass Steagall and says the demise of the original one played a significant role in the financial crisis:

First, they say that if Glass-Steagall—enacted in 1933 to separate commercial and investment banking—had been in place, the crisis still would have occurred. Second, they argue that requiring the separation of commercial banking and broker-dealer activities is inconsistent with a free-market economy and puts U.S. financial firms at a global competitive disadvantage. Both assertions are wrong.

Advocates of the first argument say the crisis was not precipitated by trading activities within banking organizations but by excessive mortgage lending by commercial banks and by the failures of independent broker-dealers, such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.

This assertion ignores that the largest bank holding companies and broker-dealers were engaged in high-risk activities supported by explicit and implied government guarantees. Access to insured deposits or money-market funds and repos fueled the activities of both groups, making them susceptible to the freezing of markets and asset-price declines.

— Read David Carr’s Monday New York Times column on how the new owner of the San Diego daily newspaper is overtly using the paper to further his own interests:

Public agencies that have not gotten the hint have found themselves investigated in the news pages of The U-T. A sports columnist who was skeptical of the plans found himself out of a job, and the newspaper has published front-page editorials and wraparound sections to promote political allies who share its agenda. According to several employees at the paper, a feature called “Making a Difference” has included flattering profiles of many of Mr. Manchester’s associates.

The oddest part? Mr. Manchester and the chief executive, John T. Lynch, who also owns part of the paper, are completely open about their motives.

“We make no apologies,” Mr. Lynch said by telephone on Friday. “We are doing what a newspaper ought to do, which is to take positions. We are very consistent — pro-conservative, pro-business, pro-military — and we are trying to make a newspaper that gets people excited about this city and its future.”

— Finally, here’s a slideshow I can get behind. Reuters corrals some of its own terrific photographs of child laborers across the globe.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,