SIGTARP proves that some bankers aren’t too big to jail

We’re heard a lot about the lack of prosecutions on Wall Street for the players that brought the world economy to its knees, and almost lower still.  There is one outfit, however, that takes its defend and protect mandate seriously — and of all places, from the heart of the hated bailout: the Inspector General’s Office of TARP


Since 2008, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program has pursued criminal charges against 107 senior bank officers, most of whom have been sentenced to prison. Created to supervise the government bailout of the auto and financial industries, the agency has found dozens of cases of bank executives who misused bailout funds.

SIGTARP has a staff of 170, a budget of $41 million and an enforcement track record that rivals agencies twice its size. The agency’s work has resulted in $4.7 billion in restitution paid to the government and victims. Lawmakers are holding SIGTARP up as a model and questioning why other agencies are not producing similar results.

Sure, these aren’t the biggest fish in the predator pool, but at least an example is being set and other regulators are being goaded. Go Christy Romero!

Big Banks Bigger Than Ever and Their Regulators Still Sucking Up to Them

Neil Barofsky, the former Inspector General for TARP has a new ‘page turner’ of a book, Bailout: How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street,  about his efforts to monitor the program, and the shit he caught for doing so, not the least by out-going Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Geithner.

PR Blurb says:

In this bracing, page-turning account of his stranger-than-fiction baptism into the corrupted ways of Washington, Neil Barofsky offers an irrefutable insider indictment of the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailout fund. During the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Barofsky gave up his job in the esteemed U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City to become the special inspector general overseeing the spending of the bailout money. But from day one his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold the big banks accountable were met with outright hostility from Treasury officials. Bailout is a riveting account of Barofsky’s plunge into the political meat grinder of Washington, and a vital revelation of just how captured by Wall Street our political system is and why the banks have only become bigger and more dangerous in the wake of the crisis.

Barofsky was interviewed at length by Mitch Jeserich on  KPFA’s Letters and Politics, here.  He was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2000 to 2009 before he came to the IG job, and so no slouch when it comes to understanding and going after corporate crime.  It’s a long interview but you’ll learn a lot about Wall Street, Treasury, Geithner, Obama and more.  Worth it.