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New derivatives legislation "was probably written by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs"


The Nation:

Who drafted this dubious piece of legislation? Bankers (or their lawyers) did. The leading sellers of derivatives are an exclusive club of five very large financial institutions--Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs--that hold 95 percent of the derivatives exposure among the largest banks (the total contract value exceeds $290 trillion). These are the same folks who toppled the global economy and compelled government to intervene with gigantic bailouts.

Michael Greenberger, a University of Maryland law professor and veteran federal regulator, studied the House committee's 187-page bill and detected the fine needlework of Wall Street lawyers. "It had to be written by someone inside the banks," Greenberger said, "because buried every few pages is a tricky and devilish 'exception.' It would greatly surprise me if these poison pills originated from anyone on Capitol Hill or the Treasury."

A well-informed Congressional source confirmed that the original language in the draft legislation was written by financial-industry experts. It "was probably written by JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs," he told me, "and possibly the Chicago Mercantile Exchange." The Chicago exchange trades commodity futures--hog bellies, beef, grains--and more exotic derivatives. It is a rival to Wall Street but very close to agribusiness interests like Cargill, the giant grain trader, that make heavy use of derivatives.

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