Officials at the SEC have begun to doubt that the agency can prove that executives of the now-defunct Lehman Brothers investment bank broke the law after the company allegedly moved billions of dollars off its balance sheet.
Most of those Wall Street executives whose firms took ridiculous risks and brought the global financial system to its knees are far from a jail cell, or even from being prosecuted by the Justice Department.
In a move to quell public outrage, President Obama has ordered the government’s “pay czar” to cut by 90 percent the multimillion-dollar salaries that executives of seven bank and auto companies are receiving, citing the fact that these firms are entirely dependent on U.S. taxpayer money for financial survival.
Amending current TARP rules and regulations, President Obama is expected to put a $500,000 cap on executive salaries at companies that receive large amounts of bailout funds. It would mean major pay cuts for the likes of Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis, who took home more than $20 million in 2007.