Michael Schaus

America’s most effective extortion racket, the Department of Justice, just bullied another big bank into surrendering billions of dollars in fines. Citigroup has agreed to pay an astounding $7 billion settlement to the DOJ for apparent wrongdoing leading up to the financial crisis. Why am I suddenly reminded of Al Capone’s observation about government coercion?

"A crook is a crook, and there's something healthy about his frankness in the matter. But any guy who pretends he is enforcing the law and steals on his authority is a swell snake. The worst type of these punks is the big politician.” – Al Capone.

Citi will be paying $4.5 billion as a cash settlement, and another $2.5 billion in the form of financing for affordable housing and mortgage modifications. Holder even ran to the microphones to brag about the fact that the cash portion is the largest settlement ever reached from an American bank for actions that supposedly led to the “great recession”. (Wow… Too bad we can’t get a settlement from politicians for leading us into this so-called “recovery”.)

But, here’s where the extortion racket really comes into view: no criminal charges have been filed against any individuals. In fact, no handcuffs have been slapped on anyone tied to the “egregious” corporate actions. And while Holder has threatened criminal charges against various banks (because JP Morgan can clearly spend “hard time” in a Federal pen, right?), there likely will be no charges filed against any individuals moving forward. Heck, even if Holder decided he wanted to throw a banker in jail, the statute of limitations would likely make it impossible in the next year or two.

Even a junior prosecutor could probably scrape together a criminal case against individuals who were responsible for the bank’s “egregious” actions if they were so inclined – especially given the fact that the banks have shelled out multi-billion dollar settlements and admissions of wrong-doing. But, the dirty little secret is that Holder-Obama & Co don’t actually want to file any charges against any wealthy executives.

Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership.

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