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Jamie Dimon Faces Oversight From House

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon faced tough questions from the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.

Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) lobbed a softball to Dimon early on, asking him whether JPMorgan’s woes were as bad for the economy as the problems facing Europe.

“I’m sorry I take up so many people’s time on this loss, because it is rather not significant in the global scheme of things, in the things that you all have to worry about as legislators and what we need to worry about in Europe,” Dimon responded.

Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) praised Dimon’s and JPMorgan’s efforts to mitigate the foreclosure crisis in his state.

“I want to pay you and your operation in Georgia a great compliment” on the home foreclosure program that “saved over 1,075 homes, many of them yours,” Scott said. “We dodged a bullet because of your largeness, because of your size.”

Still, despite some of the fawning, Dimon did fare worse before the House panel than he did last week when Senators of both parties went out of their way to laud his experience.

Republicans then reiterated their dislike for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, enacted in 2010 largely without their assistance.

Tea party champion Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) shrugged off the failed London-based credit derivative bets, saying, “We lose twice that every day here in Washington.” And almost every lawmaker, regardless of party, seemed to lob more praise at Dimon than sharp criticism.

Perhaps coincidentally, Dimon has given $19,000 to Senate Banking Committee members in recent cycles. He also gave more than $55,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2008 and $50,000 to President Barack Obama’s first inaugural committee, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Whether he will continue to be such a large donor remains to be seen. Kelleher argues that it’s time that JPMorgan be forced to demonstrate it is not too big to fail, or be restructured by federal officials.

“If Jamie Dimon doesn’t want some Old Testament justice and to see the JPMorgan name sent to the waste bin of history, it’s time for him to put up or shut up,” Kelleher said.

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