18 February 2015

Rachel Maddow is Wrong, and the Senate Republicans are Right

She ascribes the delays in her nomination purely to animus on the part of Republicans.

While I agree that the bulk of the opposition is driven by hatred and political expedience, but we also need to look at what the Republicans are actually saying, and the history of the Obama administration's approach to corruption in the finance industry.

The stated reason given by Republicans to oppose Lynch is her role in what is clearly a laughable settlement with HSBC over money laundering and tax evasion, and I would argue that Obama's selection of Ms. Lynch is likely to have been driven (at least in part) by her cozy relationship with the Banksters.

It is clear that Barack Obama is determined not to have a meaningful accounting of Wall Street criminality:
Senate Republicans are seizing on the global tax scandal engulfing HSBC to delay the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, the Guardian can reveal.

The Republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, Chuck Grassley, was on Friday preparing a fresh tranche of questions for Lynch about the huge cache of leaked data showing how HSBC’s subsidiary helped conceal billions of dollars from domestic tax authorities.

Grassley and another Republican senator are planning to investigate whether Lynch could have done more to stand up to the world’s second largest bank.

Lynch negotiated a controversial settlement with HSBC in 2012, after the bank admitted to facilitating money-laundering by Mexican drug cartels and helping clients evade US sanctions.

Now there are questions over why she did not also pursue HSBC over evidence that its Swiss arm helped US taxpayers hide their assets.

The secret bank files – obtained and examined in detail this week in a series of reports by the Guardian, CBS 60 Minutes and other media outlets – reveal that HSBC’s Swiss arm colluded with some high net-worth individuals to hide their assets from tax authorities across the world.

The new data, leaked by a whistleblower, was obtained by French tax authorities and shared with the US government in 2010, raising questions over why the Department of Justice has yet to take action against HSBC in the US.
It's a legitimate question, particularly since HSBC's acts have been egregious enough to lead Swiss law enforcement to raid HSBC.

Considering the degree to which secrecy, and tax evasion, have been central to the business of Swiss banking, the fact that they have initiated a criminal investigation, and that the US Department of Justice has not, is telling.

It should be noted that Lynch claimed that she did not have sufficient evidence for criminal prosecutions, but as Empty Wheel notes, "Sure, she and her prosecutors were unable to find the evidence in Carl Levin’s gift-wrapped case. But trust her, she seems to be saying, she might one day see fit to charge some warm bodies with fraud if she’s confirmed."

Note that there are now allegations that HSBC gave material support to terrorists.


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