By Dominique de Kevelioc de Bailleul
CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton smiles. He frowns and head-nods to mimic his audience’s predictable emotions of the criminal news story of the day. He understands you and the anger you must feel. He even sports anti-establishment long hair to blend in with his audience. He’s a likable guy with a pleasant face, blond hair and blue eyes, a corn-fed country-boy look about him, who communicates more with facial expressions and clever tone control to serve as an excellent public relations man.
For example, Chilton spoke with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzer and Trish Regan Tuesday about the Barclay’s Libor-rigging scandal. Notice carefully how Chilton deflects questions, but launches non-verbal language to camouflage his unresponsive answers to the poignant question on the minds of the public regarding the criminal probe of the Barclay’s incident—why aren’t people prosecuted and going to jail for bank fraud?
Schatzer: Bart (not ‘Commissioner), I presume, the CFTC wanted Bob Diamond and Jerry del Missier out at Barclay’s. You could have made it a condition of your settlement. Is this the right outcome?
How about asking the question: why aren’t bankers being prosecuted and going to jail if they commit fraud? Why are deals being made in the first place?
Chilton: You’re correct; we could have made these things part of our settlement. We could have tried to work on that. It’s not part of our settlement. We don’t talk about personalities, and to some extent I don’t want to get into personalities now, but I will say, ‘Look these guys broke the law’ <said with gusto> ‘They broke the law’, and as you were just talking about it impacted interest rates all over the planet <again, said with gusto>. So, it’s a big damn deal <increasing his angry tone>, and I think if you ask most people out there watching and people out in the countryside I talk to, whether they think this is a just outcome, they’d say, ‘sure‘. They wonder why people aren’t in jail. When people do the crime, they should do the time, not just pay the fine. But that’s not in our settlement for the banks to determine, but I think there’s a lot of people out there who aren’t displeased.
Chilton said nothing the public doesn’t already know, but he did mimic how people feel about the incident with Barclay’s by showing a little anger while he stated the obvious points of the case. In the sales profession, a technique called the ‘feel, felt, found’ is used to gain the prospect’s trust, with the well-know technique beginning with mimicking your prospect’s concerns by disarming the prospect by validating his feelings and objections. Chilton demonstrated a knack for the ‘feel, felt, found’ method of culling the viewer to his side by cushioning the bad news with showing empathy for the public’s outrage that no banker is going to be criminally prosecuted for manipulating interest rate financial vehicles. But the bottom line from Chilton is: people (in the countryside) should accept the settlement, the cop out, and if you do feel the Justice Department should prosecute, well, you’re in the minority.
After searching on the web for a public poll about what to do with bankers who commit fraud, not one formal poll conducted by a major newspaper could be found in Google’s search engine’s top results pages.
But, The Guardian conducted a poll in August 2011 regarding the victims of banker fraud who protested in the UK last summer.
The Guardian/ICM poll asked: “Do you think that people convicted of theft or other offences during the recent riots in London and elsewhere should or should not receive a tougher prison sentence than they might ordinarily expect, in order to set an example of them?”
“Of the respondents, 70% said they believed offenders should receive a tougher sentence, while 25% believed they should not. Five per cent said they did not know,” The Guardian stated.
And Chilton wants the public to believe that the “people in the countryside” think a mere monetary fine is “just”? Shouldn’t the Justice Department criminally prosecute to “set an example of them,” as The Guardian posed its poll question regarding the victims—the people of the countryside? And reread Schatzer’s question again. Does that sound like a question that would be asked by legendary investigative reporter, Jack Anderson? The media, regulators, bankers and politicians are all in this mess together. No one will break ranks until the public is pushed into serious action that threatens this flagrant cartel of fascists.
Chilton: They’ve violated the law. Our Department of Justice are the ones who decide whether or not they’re going to prosecute and put somebody in jail. They reached a settlement as you know for $160 million with Barclay’s, so they agreed not to prosecute anybody on this incentive to crime, send them to jail. I’m not going to second-guess the Department of Justice, but what I’m saying is that there are a lot of people out there in the countryside who are watching this, they’re wondering about, in general, about this culture that’s been going on in the banks for years, since 2008, and I think there really does needs to be a culture shift, and so far I really think we’ve got a culture shaft a lot of times, and as we’ve seen sometimes it goes all the way to the top.
A culture shift? It’s unlikely that “people in the countryside” believed that a culture of committing fraud was accepted as a right endemic to bankers.
Well, I think this [settlement] sends a good signal to people in the countryside that regulators on both sides of the Atlantic are on the job, that we are looking after it. Now, it doesn’t mean the end, but again, I cannot say whether we have an investigation when there is a continuing probe, but it is a natural question and I can assure that its a question that we ask ourselves. I just can’t comment unfortunately where it is. . .
No. The signal to bankers is—no banker goes to jail, and the fine imposed will not seriously harm the institution which employed them. But, “the people in the countryside” may think it’s a big deal to fine a bank the size of Barclay’s $160 million, unless, of course, the countryside bumpkins cares to look at Barclay’s balance sheet of $2.3 trillion in assets—or 0.0000695 of Barclay’s total assets.
Though the magnificent work of Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee board member Adrian Douglas can never be repaid to fit the job he does for all gold and silver bugs, the idea of calling Chilton “the modern-day equivalent of Eliot Ness” may be a mistake, but a most forgivable one in the case of Douglas and GATA. GATA is dealing with the most clever, high-tech slimes the world has ever know, working on low budgets and high ambitions to fight the Fed, JP Morgan and banker fraud. No one can ever challenge GATA’s good intentions successfully, though former Goldman Sachs ‘associate’ Jeff Christian had tried with no success other than to diminish his own reputation.
If Chilton is truly a ‘good guy’, how can he stay at the CFTC knowing that his work amounts to essentially nothing? Could anyone imagine GATA’s Bill Murphy, Chris Powell or Adrian Douglas lasting 24 hours at the CFTC if catching guys who allegedly commit monstrous, outrageous and unspeakable fraud means essentially nothing?
Gold and silver bugs may want to rethink Bart Chilton’s real role at the CFTC. He looks good, sounds good, but so do slick PR men.