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Occupy The SEC Files Lawsuit Against Every Federal Regulator of Wall Street

Screenshot of SEC website

At a talk at the New School last week, Greg Smith, former VP of Goldman Sachs in the UK noted that less than 1/3 of Dodd Frank Act rules have been implemented and that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has missed more than a 3/4 of its own  deadlines.

I would argue, today, casinos are better regulated than banks.


The below is an excerpt from , by Pam Martens

Occupy Wall Street’s brain trust, Occupy the SEC, just filed a Federal lawsuit that encapsulates the crony capitalist state that passes today for democracy. Occupy the SEC is suing every Federal regulator that resides in the pocket of Wall Street – which means they are suing every Federal regulator of Wall Street. And, spunky group that they are, they’re naming individuals too. Here’s the rundown: Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Martin Gruenberg, Chairman of the FDIC, Elisse Walter, Chair of the SEC, Gary Gensler, Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Thomas Curry, Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Mary Miller, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury, Neal Wolin, Acting Secretary of the Treasury. 

Occupy the SEC....explains to the court that one of the most critical components of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that was supposed to reform Wall Street has yet to be enacted by the regulators and this is in violation of law. The key component is the Volcker Rule, named after former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, that would prohibit most forms of trading for the house on Wall Street, known officially as proprietary trading. 

The lawsuit informs the court that Dodd-Frank required that regulators adopt rules relating to this section “within nine months after the completion of a study by FSOC [Financial Stabilization Oversight Council] relating to the Volcker Rule. The FSOC completed that study in January 2011.” The complaint proceeds to explain that the legislative language “is unequivocal in setting this mandatory deadline, which the Defendants and the agencies under their control have missed.” 

To bring a lawsuit of this nature, plaintiffs who have a legitimate stake in the outcome must be named on the suit. Occupy the SEC has wisely selected two individuals, Eric Taylor and Kristine Ekman, who live in Brooklyn and hold insured deposit accounts with two major Wall Street firms. That’s highly relevant because the Brooklyn residences allow this case to be filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York rather than the Southern District that covers the Wall Street area and lower Manhattan. Wall Street has been getting extremely sweet deals in that District Court for the past two decades, raising concerns as to whether the 99 percent can ever obtain justice there. 

The complaint explains to the Court that “this delay puts Plaintiffs’ deposited money at risk, because banks can continue to speculate with it as long as the Volcker Rule has not been implemented.” The recent example of the implosion of insured deposits at JPMorgan Chase is cited: 

“For instance, in April of 2012 it was reported that the Chief Investment Office (CIO) at the London office of JPMorgan Chase bank had utilized deposited funds, like those of Plaintiffs, to invest in extremely risky, speculative credit default swap indices (derivatives of derivatives). Further, it has recently been reported that other traders at JPMorgan actually bet against the CIO office, virtually guaranteeing that some division within the bank would suffer losses. The latest estimates reveal that the bank suffered approximately $6 billion in trading losses from the CIO debacle.” 

The lawsuit was filed by attorney, Akshat Tewary, who has been active in Occupy the SEC since its inception. (Read the full lawsuit here.)

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