6.16.12 Washington DC--JPMorgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon was summoned to Capitol Hill this week to do the usual song and dance. You know, the political theater where CEOs of failed big banks, Wall Street or the auto companies are grilled before committees and sub-committees and sub-sub committees," then receive billion dollar checks and get sent on their merry way--flying home in their private jets nonetheless.
Sorry, that was a mouthful. Well, this time Dimon had to appear and pretend to care about losing $2 billion of his bank's money and the lot in Washington had to pretend to be outraged as they put their friend through the scripted paces.
But it is not the routine Q &A that is creating the controversy; after all, we have heard it many times before. It is what Dimon wore on his shirt that is causing the stir. Every well dressed man knows a pair of cufflinks compliments the suit ensemble and of course the super-rich like Dimon wears the super-expensive kind. So the dazzle is not what's surprising, it is the kind of dazzle.
According to HuffPost, the banker sported presidential cufflinks, complete with the president's seal. That is certainly impressive, for an item like that could only come from the White House. Who gave them to him? More importantly, did he wear those links as a dig at his inquisitors, to let them know he has friends in extremely high places?
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is not divulging much and would only say they were a gift from "a resident of the White House." Inquiring minds want to know, which resident?
It is no secret that Dimon and JPMorgan Chase is one of the biggest contributors to Washington's elected officials campaign and one of the more prolific lobbyists. Those sitting on the numerous committees including banking, have accepted bribes--sorry, I mean donations -- from not only Dimon but other fellow lobbyists for banks and corporations.
According to the Center For Responsive Politics, opensecrets.org, the biggest contributors for 2011-12 cycle so far are the Bankers Association with $679,650; JP Morgan Chase, $591,504; Wells Fargo, $455,048; Independent Community Bankers Of America, $438,200; and Bank Of America, $409,921. By now these figures may have increased for corporations are people and these "people" are avid contributors to their "cause."
From 1990-2012, campaign contributions from commercial banks alone totaled $40 million. Lobbying totaled another $60 million from 1998-2010.
Top recipients for the 2012 election cycle are Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney with $271,750; Senator Bob Corker, (R-TN), $183,900; President Obama $137,743; Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), $130,669; and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), $118,900.
The "big money-like menage a trois" taking place between big banks, corporations and Washington is a sordid open secret, so dragging Dimon and others to the Hill is hilarious. After he lost the $2 billion, President Obama visited the ladies of ABC's "The View" and still praised him as one of the most brilliant bankers around. Marinade on that for a moment.