JPMorgan Chase & Co. apologized after James Glassman, a senior economist at the bank, said members of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations showed ignorance of market economics.
“The report is from a single economist and does not reflect the views of our firm,” JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Jennifer Zuccarelli said in a May 4 statement. “We disagree with his characterizations, and we’re sorry.”
Glassman, according to a copy of his May 3 note on the Huffington Post’s website, criticized the “low level of economic literacy” shown as the panel, led by Senator Carl Levin, grilled current and former executives from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on April 27. The panel examined the bank’s duty to clients and the ethics of betting against the housing market while selling mortgage-linked securities.
“The hearings exposed an unnerving ignorance of fundamental principles of market economics by folks who have a hand in remapping rules of finance that will be with us for a while,” Glassman wrote, according to the note. “Now that the financial reform debate is in the final innings, it’s time for the grownups to step in.”
In the note, Glassman discussed the economic troubles facing the state of Michigan. The note included a graph depicting the state’s employment decline since 2000 compared with that of other states, which was titled “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Levin, a Democrat who was not named in the note, is the senior senator from Michigan.
Tara Andringa, a spokeswoman for Levin, said the lawmaker didn’t plan to issue a statement. Glassman didn’t return a call seeking comment after normal business hours. Joe Evangelisti, a spokesman for JPMorgan, had no further comment today.
The Senate is debating a sweeping rewrite of rules governing Wall Street, intended to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis that led the U.S. to extend $700 billion in taxpayer funds to firms including JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs. Several senators said evidence presented at the April 27 hearing supported the case for Congress to pass the legislation.