A former staffer for Vice President Joe Biden and ex-Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE) is out with a new book called ‘The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins,’ about how the D.C. power structure allowed Wall Street to emerge from the financial crisis unscathed.The staffer’s name is Jeff Connaughton, and back in 2009 (after working as a D.C. lobbyist as well as for Biden) he joined Ted Kaufman in Delaware where Kaufman was filling Joe Biden’s vacant Senate seat.
Connaughton’s book is the story of how he Kaufman watched everyone in Washington from the Obama administration to the SEC back down from a fight with Wall Street banks.
Or, as the book’s website describes:
It’s the story of a 20-month struggle to hold Wall Street executives accountable for securities fraud, to stop stock manipulation by high-frequency traders, and to break up too-big-to-fail megabanks. In this book, we experience a US senator’s vigorous crusade—side-by-side with his most trusted advisor—against Wall Street’s irresponsible risk-taking that destabilized the American economy.
Check out this excerpt from the book about Connaughton’s effort to work with the Justice Department on forming a strategy for charging individuals in the financial industry with fraud (h/t Politico’s Morning Money).
“In the summer of 2009, we asked Lanny Breuer, by then confirmed by the Senate as the new assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, for a meeting. It was September before Breuer and his top team of fraud-enforcement advisors could see us. … Ted started by saying he appreciated all the effort that he knew was under way, but that Chairman Leahy had asked him to chair an oversight hearing, which would create a public forum for learning about the strategy and direction of the Justice Department’s and FBI’s investigative work.
This was news to Breuer and the other Justice Department lawyers, and it certainly got their attention. In the chitchat prior to the meeting, Breuer had mentioned that he’d done a series of speeches to the white collar bar and that he was going to Romania (where former Biden staffer Mark Gitenstein serves as ambassador) to give a speech. I remember wondering: “What is he doing spending all his time on a speech tour?”
Sounds like the DOJ was really pumped to get a jump on the whole thing.