The Department of Justice (DOJ) has negotiated several “back room” deals related to the 2008 financial collapse with the titans of high finance over the last few years. Recently, the DOJ settled financial fraud claims related to the subprime housing bubble in a deal with the mega bank, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., for $13 Billion. J.P. Morgan Chase’s role in causing the worst financial collapse since 1929 was arguably greater than any other bank. The fact that our government is settling these claims in these secretive, closed door meetings with very large, politically powerful, and potentially criminal banks is repugnant to our free and democratic society.
Recently, Better Markets challenged the DOJ’s decision to negotiate this type of sweetheart deal with the megabanks. For those who don’t know, Better Markets is a Wall Street watchdog group dedicated to ensuring that we achieve real, substantive financial reforms and that large financial institutions don’t use their considerable political clout to evade justice filed suit against the DOJ. A Washington Federal District Court dismissed the case ruling that Better Markets and other similar groups lack the requisite standing to sue the U.S. Department of Justice for how it exercises its Federal law enforcement powers. Better Markets is evaluating the court’s opinion and exploring all of its options including appeal.
Sadly, this is another example of a “too big to fail” bank simply purchasing immunity from the Federal government for a pittance in a secret negotiation. This is NOT how American democracy works and it shows how powerful the titans of Wall Street truly are. While the courts have ruled groups like Better Markets lack standing to sue the government for cutting these banks slack, they cannot take away an individual’s right to seek justice for what the banks have done to them personally. This leaves those seeking justice one option, to challenge the wrongdoing perpetrated by the banking industry against them in a court of law. As long as the banks want to burn the little guy and buy their way out of trouble, Jackson & Elrod, LLP will be here to stand up for the rights of those deemed small enough to fail and file lawsuits on their behalf. What is done in the dark will be brought to the light.
Chad D. Elrod, Esq.