Bank Fees Under-Target Citigroup and AIG, Geithner Questioned
Matthew R. Lee
YORK, January 14 -- The night before President Barack Obama was
scheduled to unveil a scheme of fees on the three or four dozen
largest financial firms, the Administration held a then embargoed
conference call with the press.
centered around why the auto manufacturers which took TARP funds
would not also be fined. Others wondered, if the fee regime yielded
more than what the government and taxpayers lost through TARP before
it expired in ten years, would the money still be collected and how
would it be used?
representative, who the press was told could only be called a "senior
administration official," replied that once the basis of
calculating the fee had been decided on, car companies didn't fit it.
questions were answered, the Administration signed off, noting that
Obama would be making his announcement at 11:20 the next day. Among
the questions not taken or answered was this, from Inner City Press:
why assess all of the financial firms under the program at the same
rate, fifteen basis points?
example, received much more TARP and other payouts than other covered
banks. And as South Bronx based Fair Finance Watch and others showed
at the time, the government tried to help Citigroup scoop up
Wachovia, until another less subpsized offer won the day. Why benefit
Citigroup again by treating it like other, less subprime heavy banks?
The same holds for AIG.
Geither and AIG, Citigroup not shown
Administration official" went out of his way to portray the
program as a matter of principle for not only Obama but also "his"
Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner.
some, the timing
is meant to blunt renewed bipartisan criticism of Geithner, this time
only only for not paying his taxes to the IRS -- which would be
collecting the fees from the financial firms -- but for having told
AIG not to disclose the preferential basis of the bailouts it was
receiving, while he was at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
it was hard to
note that his seeming favorite, AIG, and the bank most benefited by
his Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Citigroup, are benefited by the
structure of this proposed Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee program.
In fact, some
say it has an aspect of a Tim Geithner bail out.
question that should be asked, and answered. Watch this site.
* * *
Reports of War Crimes, IMF Gives More Funds to Sri Lankan Government
and Spins on Human Rights
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, November 18 -- The International Monetary Fund's seemingly
dismissive attitude toward human rights, including labor rights and
protections against ethnic cleansing and even torture, has been on
display this month. Managing Director Dominique Strauss Kahn defended
the IMF's disbursement of funds to the government of Sri Lanka,
without any conditions or safeguards, after detailed reports of
presumptive war crimes.
Press asked IMF spokesperson Caroline Atkinson if, in light of Mr.
Strauss Kahn's logic, the IMF ever considers human rights in
disbursing funds or not, she laughed and called the question's
"premise... a bit misleading." Video here
from Minute 9:07.
City Press: Does the Managing Director’s November the 5th statement
‘regardless of one’s opinion of the human rights situation’
mean that the IMF never considers human rights?”
ATKINSON: That’s another question where the premise is a bit
misleading. The point that the Managing Director was making in his
response to a letter from Human Rights Watch was—and as you know,
the text of that letter talks quite directly about the Managing
Director’s own feelings about the importance of human rights. And
the point of that quote was that he was saying whatever you think
about what rights and wrongs of what’s happening in Sri Lanka now,
what is true is that an economic collapse would make lives worse for
everybody. And, of course, usually the most vulnerable are most hurt
by any economic collapse. So it was in that context he was explaining
the reasoning behind the Fund’s economic support for Sri Lanka.
Thank you all very much and have a good Thanksgiving.
fact, even the
Europe Commission in considering extending or suspending its GSP Plus
favorable tariff treatment to Sri Lanka, has taken into account
consideration of human rights and war crimes. By contrast, the IMF
has argued against any duty to consider human rights. Even Strauss
Kahn's letter refers only to "humanitarian" issues, and
uses this as an argument in favor of releasing more funds.
City Press has asked IMF spokespeople what safeguards if any would be
attached to the loan. (Despite Inner City Press' demonstrated
interest since then, the IMF did not tell it about its conference calls
on disbursements to Sri Lanka, neither in July nor this month).
IMF's Strauss Kahn -- funds flow "regardless... of
16, the IMF's Caroline
Atkinson said that the views of the international community will be
taken into account. Four days later her boss
Mr. Strauss Kahn issued a press release
with no mention of safeguards. Now a letter, and a laugh. We will
continue to follow this issue.