April 14, 2011- Yesterday, a Senate subcommittee investigating Wall Street’s role in the recent financial collapse released a massive, 639-page report documenting the role mortgage lenders, investment bankers, and insufficient regulatory checks on Wall Street played in creating America’s worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. But this congressional investigation could lead to much more public scrutiny into one of Wall Street’s biggest players. In a statement announcing the report’s findings, subcommittee chair Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) suggested that Goldman Sachs could face criminal charges:
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said on Wednesday that he plans to refer Goldman officials, and potentially officials from other organizations, to the Justice Department for possible prosecution and to the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible civil proceedings.
Think Progress: Progressive Lawmakers Warn A "Significant Portion" Of Gas Prices Is Due To Speculation, Call For Crack Down
April 16, 2011- Rising oil prices have pushed gas prices above $4 per gallon in many places, inflating prices on everything from food to airfare, imperiling the fragile economic recovery. Experts have been a bit befuddled by the steep rise in gas prices this early in the year, as global oil supplies have remained steady despite unrest in the Middle East.
April 15, 2011- When a BP oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico last April, killing 11 workers, authorities first reported that no crude was leaking into the ocean.
They were wrong.
The disaster that captivated the world's attention for 153 days struck at 9:53 p.m. CDT on April 20, when a surge of methane gas known to rig hands as a "kick" sparked an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig as it was drilling the mile-deep Macondo 252 well off Louisiana's coast. Two days later, the rig sank.
One year on, oil from the largest spill in U.S. history clogs wetlands, pollutes the ocean and endangers wildlife, not to mention the toll it has inflicted on the coastal economies of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and especially Louisiana.
April 13, 2011- US Uncut, a group protesting corporate tax issues and government service cutbacks, claimed responsibility for a fake press release that said General Electric Co. (GE) would return a "$3.2 billion tax refund.”
The release, which was picked up by the Associated Press, was part of the group’s effort to pressure companies to pay their taxes, Andrew Boyd, a spokesman for the group, said in an interview. US Uncut had the idea for the GE tax effort and then cooperated on execution of it with a group known as the Yes Men, which has been involved in similar hoaxes.
“By pretending GE did the right thing by re-gifting their tax refund, we hold them accountable to that better future,” said Boyd. “People are moving very fast and are going to reprint the release, and we think there’s also an unconscious motivation that they’re happy to see the news.”
April 13, 2011- During this week, when millions of Americans are scrambling to finish their taxes, it’s hard to muster much sympathy for the Internal Revenue Service. But consider the agency’s plight: Virtually each year, Congress asks it to take on new duties and enforce a tax code that grows increasingly, maddeningly complex.
If the IRS budget doesn't grow with these developments, corporations and wealthy individuals with access to smart lawyers and accountants will claim breaks they don't deserve, knowing that the IRS doesn't have the resources to challenge them. When that happens, either you pay more or the nation needs to borrow more.
April 11, 2011- A client of the British bank giant HSBC pleaded guilty on Monday to offshore tax evasion as part of a widening government inquiry of banks that may help tax dodgers.
The case includes as co-conspirators five unidentified bankers, who according to the indictment worked at a large international bank based in Britain .
The defendant, Vaibhav Dahake, admitted in United States District Court in New Jersey to conspiring to conceal accounts in India.
Mr. Dahake is an Indian native who became an American citizen in 2006 and now lives in Somerset, N.J.
The plea comes days after federal prosecutors said that an HSBC unit in India potentially helped thousands of Americans to dodge taxes. Prosecutors are expanding the government’s inquiry of offshore tax evaders and their banks.
April 11, 2011- A coalition of liberals and unions is launching a broadside on corporate secrecy and tax havens.
Members of the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) campaign sent a letter to top lawmakers on budget, tax-writing and government affairs panels on Monday, outlining their goals.
The group is also having a Tuesday event at the National Press Club that will feature Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Nicholas Shaxson, the author of a book on tax havens that is getting its U.S. debut on Tuesday.
“Shell corporations, anonymous trusts and bank secrecy both in the United States and abroad make it easy for criminals, terrorists, government officials and even otherwise legitimate multinational companies to hide their money and difficult for law enforcement and tax authorities to do their jobs,” FACT wrote to lawmakers.
April 13, 2011- They're back. Actually, they never left, they just laid low while the heat of political anger blew over.
They are the schemers and scammers of Wall Street who devised the Phantasmagoric Money-From-Nothing Good Times Machine that was fueled by indecipherable derivatives and other financial fairy dust. If you're presently stuck in hard economic times, you have them to thank, for it was their hocus-pocus that -- poof! -- imploded our economy in 2008.
Responding to public outrage, President Obama and the Democratic Congress passed a reform bill last year that tightened the rules on these tricksters. But now -- with Wall-Street-hugging Republicans running the House and Obama himself turning into Wall Street's best buddy -- the schemers and scammers are demanding that Washington loosen those pesky rules so they can restart that Good Times Machine for their own fun and profit.