Wachovia responds: Citigroup violated confidentiality agreement

Citigroup appears to have even less of a claim on Wachovia than I previously thought, on the basis of transaction documents posted late Sunday night by the New York Times (copy below the jump). The documents include an affidavit of Wachovia CEO Robert Steele and the Wachovia-Wells Fargo merger agreement. It appears, from these documents and others filed earlier by Citigroup, that if there’s a bad corporate citizen in this game, it’s Citigroup. Continue reading

Jeffrey Miron: No bailout; abolish Fannie Mae & CRA

“Talk of [financial] Armageddon . . . is ridiculous scare-mongering. If financial institutions cannot make productive loans, a profit opportunity exists for someone else. This might not happen instantly, but it will happen.” So says Harvard economist Jefffrey A. Miron, writing today at CNN.

What does Miron say government should do now?  For starters, stop the cruel pretense that people who can’t pay back a freely-negotiated mortgage should be homeowners: Continue reading

Bank bailout commentary: Not so fast!

Haste makes waste. Any time 535 people reach an agreement this quickly, you know most of them did not even read it before signing off. That, sports fans, is how we got into this mess to begin with.

What remains to be seen is whether the measure will pass (probably) and whether the markets will be fooled (possibly). Early signs are not good with the Dow off 300 points, as I write. However, one should never overestimate the intelligence of investors who, after all, bought all of those mortgage-backed securities in the first place.

From a starting point of three pages last week, what appears to be the agreed bank bailout legislation runs to 109 pages of text that will generate millions if not billions in legal fees over the next five or ten years. My preliminary observations are as follows: Continue reading

DOJ loses thirteen KPMG tax indictments through prosecutorial misconduct

The U.S. Department of Justice took another ethical black eye yesterday, this time from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. The court held — in a widely watched KPMG tax fraud case — that DOJ attorneys illegally interfered with the defendants’ access to legal counsel which is protected under the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

At its launch in October 2005, the DOJ touted the case — against thirteen KPMG partners and employees — as “the largest criminal tax case ever filed.” Perhaps they should have christened it “The Titanic.” In the related press conference, U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia proclaimed with requisite gravitas: Continue reading

Crimes against the Constitution: Walther, Perry & Texas CPS

In today’s San Angelo Standard-Times, I argue that Judge Barbara Walther and Texas CPS jeopardized the rule of law in their round up and 60-day forced detention of 460+ FLDS children and adults back in April.

As the Texas “investigation” of the FLDS drags on, I suggest that Texas train its investigative guns in a more fruitful direction: against Walther, CPS investigator Angie Voss, Eldorado Sheriff David Doran and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Each acted in this case with cavalier disregard for the laws of Texas and the Constitution of the United States. Continue reading

Mexico’s new presumption of innocence: good news or bad?

Mexican President Felipe Calderón (pictured below) yesterday inked major constitutional reforms designed to enhance Mexico’s ability to combat organized crime and drug trafficking. The reforms mandate — for the first time in Mexico’s history — that courts must initially presume defendants’ innocence, criminal trials must be public, and judges must explain the reasoning for their decisions to defendants. Continue reading