The Vampire Squid Pays a Fine

The vampire squid has agreed to a pay a “$2.4 billion civil penalty, as well as $1.8 billion in relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers and affected communities.” It’s being announced as a $5 billion settlement, but that’s misleading, as all these settlement announcements have been up to now. Once again, you can blame the Republicans for this:

Since the initial JP Morgan deal that sparked outrage over tax deductions, consumer relief wiggle room, and other fine-print details that make such deals cheaper for companies than press releases indicate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and other lawmakers have tried to force federal and state lawyers to stop the doublespeak. Warren and (former) Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) have pushed for the Truth in Settlements Act since early 2014.

The measure would require federal agencies to clearly delineate between deductible and non-deductible settlement costs, and include an estimate of the actual corporate costs of such deals in their formal communications about them. It passed the Senate in September, but hasn’t moved out of any of three separate committees with jurisdiction over it in Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) House.

According to GovTrack.Us, the bill actually passed in the Senate by unanimous consent, meaning that there is no roll call of the vote, but also that there was no dissent. So, despite being universally approved by a Republican-controlled Senate, no committee chairs in the Republican-controlled House can be bothered to act on it.

Of course, Goldman Sachs employs Ted Cruz’s wife, so they basically pay his mortgage. They also loaned Cruz the money he needed to begin his race for the presidency, not that he or they volunteered that information to anyone despite the requirement that Cruz do so.

They call Goldman Sachs the vampire squid because its tentacles go everywhere, so we will hear about the six-figure speeches Hillary Clinton gave to Goldman executives in Lower Manhattan.

It’s nice to see some money extracted from them and given back to some of the people they defrauded, as well as some folks in underwater mortgages.

It’s be nicer still if we could take these settlement announcements at face value.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.