Influential subcommittee takes aim at JPMorgan

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Recall that when the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations decided to take a closer look at Goldman Sachs, the results ended up being a problem for the bank's top executives.

After the subcommittee forwarded its result to the DOJ with a recommendation that CEO Lloyd Blankfein and others be prosecuted for perjury, the department ultimately declined to bring any charges. But not before Blankfein and others were forced to lawyer up, and not until after the mess proved to be a huge distraction.

So what to make of the news that the same subcommittee is turning its attention to JPMorgan Chase? Bloomberg reports that, "The Senate panel is unencumbered by many of the political restraints faced by other congressional committees. As a permanent fixture in a chamber whose members only have to run for office every six years, the panel has the resources and the appetite for spending months or years issuing subpoenas, interviewing witnesses and poring over documents. The subcommittee's work also stands out in a town where investigations and white papers often dissolve into partisan strife. By a tradition unique in Congress, the minority party's staff is involved throughout the inquiry. Members from both parties tend to stick together when presenting conclusions."

The panel is actively seeking witnesses. At some point, it will no doubt call CEO Jamie Dimon to testify. Pleading the fifth will be out of the question, so he'll have to prepare assiduously. A lot will be on the line.

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