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Matt Levine

Levine on Wall Street: Bank Examiners and Argentine Evasions

You got some regulatory capture, some contempt of court, some empire-building, some regulatory turf battles, and a little bit of regulatory arbitrage, it's all here really

Is the New York Fed too cozy with Goldman Sachs?

Here is a big ProPublica story (also on This American Life) that is very interesting at least as a sociological document. In general, I always want to read more business reporting about the details of how people actually do the boring everyday of their jobs, and this story takes us inside an awkward performance review, so I love it. The gist is that Carmen Segarra was a bank examiner at the New York Fed who decided that Goldman Sachs didn't have a conflicts of interest policy. It obviously did -- her boss said "In light of your repeated and adamant assertions that Goldman has no written conflicts of interest policy, you can understand why I was surprised to find a 'Conflicts of Interests Section' in Goldman's Code of Conduct" -- but in her view it was so bad as to not constitute a legally sufficient policy under Fed rules. And then she and her boss argued sort of boringly about whether Goldman had no conflicts of interest policy, or whether "they have the basic pieces of a policy but they have to dramatically improve it." And then they fired her, and whether she was right or wrong -- ProPublica's experts think she was right -- you can sort of understand why they were sick of her. How annoying! Compromise a little. As with every whistleblower story, it's a little hard to tell if she's the last principled person in a world gone insane, or just a weird obsessive who disagrees with everyone because she's wrong and they're right. The fact that "she had purchased a tiny recorder at the Spy Store and began capturing what took place at Goldman and with her bosses" doesn't make her sound more normal.