This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

WikiLeaks Worse for SEC Than Bank of America

No, I think that Assange has misidentified the U.S. institution that is going to be "taken down" by whatever he releases. Unless this data dump is going to be a big dud, which is possible but unlikely, I think that we have a major debacle in the making for our debacle-prone, visually impaired, securities watchdogs. It doesn't really matter what the documents involve -- the Merrill Lynch takeover, Bank of America's dealings with other banks, its humungous credit card and consumer banking operations, or the mortgages that it issued during the credit frenzy. Whatever documents are released, the question the public and Congress will raise is "Why hasn't the SEC done something about this?"

It's a no-win situation for the SEC. Either it has the documents in that hard drive already or it doesn't. If it doesn't, it will be taken as proof of the SEC's incompetence (Why didn't the SEC get them?) If it does, it will be taken as proof of the SEC's incompetence (Why hasn't the SEC done anything?) Mary Schapiro, the SEC's chairperson, is hypersensitive to media and congressional pressure, so this is going to be fun to watch. Even when Democrats were controlling the House of Representatives, Schapiro was given the third degree on Capitol Hill when called to discuss the Madoff debacle.

The possible airing of Bank of America's dirty linen couldn't come at a better time.

Just as the WikiLeaks news was breaking, the SEC Office of Inspector General came out with a semi-annual report which showed just how terminally inept, flaccid and generally FUBAR the SEC is when dealing with major banks. The OIG report described how the SEC went out of its way to be lenient to Bank of America when it gave the bank a ridiculous wrist slap for concealing $6 billion in bonuses paid to Merrill execs.

The bank agreed to settle the charges by paying the absurdly small sum of $33 million. It was so penny ante that a federal judge, Jed S. Rakoff, initially refused to sign off on the settlement. The Inspector General found that SEC enforcement staff was pressured to limit the scope of its probe -- limiting it to failure to disclose the bonuses, and not failure to disclose billions in losses -- because of heat from higher-ups to wrap things up quickly.
2 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AMZN $659.09 0.00%
BAC $14.05 0.00%
GS $159.53 0.00%
AAPL $93.24 0.00%
FB $117.81 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,660.71 +9.45 0.05%
S&P 500 2,050.63 -0.49 -0.02%
NASDAQ 4,717.0940 -8.5450 -0.18%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs