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JPMorgan Bank Panel Plays for Both Teams

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When Jamie Dimon faces the Senate Banking Committee today, one can expect the kind of fine drama that is sorely lacking on Broadway nowadays. Time magazine calls it "the public whipping of Jamie Dimon." The silver-maned JPMorgan CEO, rigorously prepped, will strive to keep the hubris in check as he submits to indignant questioning over the bank's $3 billion (and counting) derivatives trading loss. Expect Oscar-worthy performances from all concerned.

Only one thing will be missing. By all rights, JPMorgan should file a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose the activities of an affiliated entity: the Senate Banking Committee. It's only right. I mean, shouldn't the viewing public know that they're all on the same team?

Long before the Supreme Court in Citizens United swept away any remaining strictures on legalized bribery of politicians, the Senate Banking Committee had been taken over by JPMorgan and the securities industry. When listening to the sharp questioning -- and perhaps even occasional fireworks! -- today, it's important to keep that in mind. What's happening is a ritual for public consumption. Dimon has nothing to fear from the Senate Banking Committee. It's in his pocket.

I don't think I'm being especially harsh. I'm just providing a cursory analysis of a public record that stinks to high heaven.

In a statement on the committee's website announcing the hearing a few weeks ago, chairman Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, said: "Over the past week, my staff and Ranking Member Shelby's staff have jointly held briefings with regulators regarding the JPMorgan Chase trading loss, as well a briefing with the company itself. Our due diligence has made it clear that the Banking Committee should hear directly from JPMorgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon,"

Let's go over that statement, beginning with the word "staff."

During the committee's hearings today, if you catch it live on cable TV, you may notice a gent by the name of Dwight Fettig in the background while the senators are thundering along. Well, he's not very well known so you won't "notice" him exactly, but you can bet that Dimon will notice him, and not because he is the committee's staff director. As was pointed out recently in the online newsletter Republic Report, Fettig worked as a lobbyist for JPMorgan in 2009.

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