The JPMorgan Trade: Time for a Special Counsel

Ethical Markets Reforming Global Finance

Better Markets sent a letter Monday to Attorney General Eric Holder, calling for the appointment of a special counsel in connection with the multibillion-dollar trading loss at JPMorgan Chase & Co. What’s at stake is very important, and goes to the heart of whether Americans still have faith that the judicial system can hold Wall Street accountable, especially after failing to prosecute any major figures for the 2008 financial crisis.


A probe by the Justice Department would present conflicts of interest, as well as the overall appearance of a conflict of interest. The most glaring example was this weekend when President Obama pre-judged the ongoing investigations by calling the $2 billion to $5 bllion derivatives trading loss just “a big mistake” in his radio address.


This appears much more than a big mistake. In fact, the reported trade is the same type that resulted in a $182 billion taxpayer bailout to AIG. Moreover, JPMorgan and its CEO Jamie Dimon on April 13 apparently gave false information on the trade to the public, shareholders, regulators, and the media. And “big mistakes” don’t typically trigger simultaneous probes by the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.


And that’s why it is so important that the investigation be handed off to an independent counsel to clear any doubt and suspicion whether the administration can and will conduct a full, fair and complete investigation. To read our letter and the reasons justifying an appointment, click here.