Ed's Blog

What Will JP Morgan Chase Chief Jamie Dimon Testify To Today?

By Ed Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director

UPDATE: JP Morgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon got softballs from some Senators but others played hardball, which is all Dimon ever does, so why not. The U.S Senate is in the big leagues after all. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley got Dimon's hackles way up (Observer) with questions on the Volcker rule and on whether government bailouts accepted by JP Morgan saved the bank (Dimon claimed he didn't need 'em and was forced to take 'em). Senators Jack Reed (RI) and Sherrod Brown (OH) (CNNMoney) and Robert Menendez (NJ) (Forbes) also got some good information into the record. Good Reuters summary. WSJ live blog has a minute-by-minute update. I was there (see my cameraphone Dimon testifiesshot) and it tracks.

ORIGINAL POST: At 10am, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee will ask JP Morgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon questions perhaps including "What did you know and when did you know it?" and "Did your $3 billion in gambling losses violate the Volcker rule against betting your own (and the depositors') money?" We will be there, tweeting from @edmpirg. If that link doesn't have video, try C-Span.

In a release, Wall Street reform ally Dennis Kelleher of Better Markets states emphatically: “If [Jamie] Dimon testifies truthfully and accurately it is inconceivable that he will not agree that the bank violated the letter and the spirit of the Volcker Rule as it is currently written.”"

Meanwhile Dimon's pre-filed testimony (USA Today) says the whole trading debacle was just a (legal) hedge to reduce risk that backfired, not a violation of the Volcker rule against risky gambling. Oh, and the losses were de minimis.

Dimon has been among the fiercest opponents of strong rules to rein in the Wall Street banks, after their disasterous and risky practices collapsed the U.S. and much of the world's economies in 2008. Dimon's still living large, but most Americans and their towns and communities are still being pummeled by the lingering risk-caused recession.

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