The History Of Hank Paulson And AIG: Pre-Trial Analysis
by Frederick Sheehan
Another example of Bernanke’s fevered understanding: “Of the 13 most important financial institutions in the United States, 12 were at risk of failure within a period of a week or two.” He said this at least once before, when he testified during the FCIC investigation. After the FCIC transcript was released, it was noted this was a ridiculous comment. Yet, he persists. If the government approached every financial institution’s potential insolvency as it did AIG, the government would have owned 6,000 banks in three days’ time.
One finding shows AIG’s nationalization – the government acquiring equity ownership from shareholders – was an ad lib operation by the trio. The finding states: “The Federal Reserve had no authority to purchase or hold equity,” the facts include (there are many more):
Geithner: “Under section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, the Fed is prohibited from taking equity or unsecured debt positions in a firm”.
Bernanke: “The Federal Reserve is authorized under the Federal Reserve Act to extend credit in various forms, but is not authorized to purchase equity securities of financial institutions.”
Bernanke: “We had only one tool, and that tool was the ability of the Federal Reserve under 13(3) authority to lend money against collateral. Not to put capital into a company but only to lend against collateral.”
Paulson, referring to the Federal Reserve: “They legally couldn’t do preferred. They legally could only make a loan.”
“FRBNY General Counsel Thomas Baxter wrote to Federal Reserve General Counsel Scott Alvarez confirming “we agree that there is no power” for the Federal Reserve “to hold AIG shares.”
“FRBNY’s independent auditor Deloitte: “FRBNY cannot legally control a commercial company, and therefore it is not appropriate for them to consolidate an entity it cannot legally own.”
Another Finding eliminates the only other legal conduit for AIG’s nationalization. “In September 2008, Treasury had no authority to purchase or hold equity.” Some of the many facts that confirm Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner broke the law. Nay, they trampled our protection from tyranny with jackboots. Facts follow:
“The “Treasury Department as of September of 2008 had no budgetary authority to invest in equities, securities of any financial institution.”
“FRBNY counsel to Federal Reserve Board officials on September 17, 2008, concerning ‘Issues with regard to the NY Fed/Treasury’s equity participation in AIG,’ Treasury ‘consider[s] themselves legally unable to assume ownership. This leaves the NYFed as Treasury’s place to house the equity position.'”
“September 17, 2008 report of Treasury’s external counsel at Wachtell: ‘Treasury legal is telling, as per doj, that they cannot hold voting shares.'”
“TARP Chief Investment Officer Jim Lambright: In ‘September when the Fed extended the credit facility, the government didn’t have an equity tool.'”
“Board of Governors Legal Division: “‘We understand that the Treasury lacks the legal authority to hold directly voting stock of AIG.'”
“Paulson: ‘Q. And prior to TARP’s approval, Treasury did not have the authority to purchase equity, either. Right?
Given the cleavage from reason by our policy makers (one last, irresistible Fact: no one from AIG was allowed in the room during its nationalization), consider: (1) interests you may hold in financial institutions and (2) Paul Singer’s description of the now legal means to redistribute those interests. Financial firms are more leveraged than is generally understood. Sell their securities.
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