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Holder’s Credit Grab at JPMorgan

These are confusing times to be a consumer of financial journalism. Sometimes it seems as if everyone in the business world is trying to inflate their numbers, especially the cops.

It has been about three weeks since news first broke that government lawyers had reached a civil settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. with a price tag of $13 billion. We haven’t seen the paperwork, because the terms aren’t final. Yet it’s obvious from the many leaks to the news media that the Justice Department is trying to grab credit for the full amount. And often a couple of key facts keep getting left out of the coverage: The deal includes several state and federal agencies. And the Justice Department’s piece would be much less than $13 billion.