When regulators are in bed with industry, bad things happen. When regulators actually go to work for the industry, then really bad things happen.
Evidence of this dynamic on Wall Street is overwhelming. Yet, don’t think that Wall Street has a monopoly on this incest. Bloomberg highlights that incestuous activity has also played out in the disaster encompassing Toyota (NYSE:TM).
Bloomberg reports (Regulators Hired by Toyota Helped Halt Investigations):
Former regulators hired by Toyota Motor Corp. helped end at least four U.S. investigations of unintended acceleration by company vehicles in the last decade, warding off possible recalls, court and government records show.
Christopher Tinto, vice president of regulatory affairs in Toyota’s Washington office, and Christopher Santucci, who works for Tinto, helped persuade the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to end probes including those of 2002-2003 Toyota Camrys and Solaras, court documents show. Both men joined Toyota directly from NHTSA, Tinto in 1994 and Santucci in 2003.
While all automakers have employees who handle NHTSA issues, Toyota may be alone among the major companies in employing former agency staffers to do so. Spokesmen for General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Honda Motor Co. all say their companies have no ex-NHTSA people who deal with the agency on defects.
Possible links between Toyota and NHTSA may fuel mounting criticism of their handling of defects in Toyota and Lexus models tied to 19 deaths between 2004 and 2009. Three congressional committees have scheduled hearings on the recalls.
While executives from Toyota may apologize they will also look to deflect blame and minimize their own overall culpability. Think back to the bobbing and weaving and massive amount of bull s*%! we heard from Wall Street executives.
The fact is, Wall Street bought its own regulation. The allure of working in the industry had an enormous impact on regulatory efforts, or dare I say the lack thereof. That allure also served to destroy the lives of thousands. You think I embellish? Ask those who remain unable to access their cash still frozen in auction-rate securities. Ask those who lost their savings in the Madoff scam. Those situations are only the high profile cases.
Now we learn that Toyota played the same game. In this case, lives were literally lost.
How would I describe the money Toyota saved and the money these former regulators earned in the process? Blood money.
Are you pissed yet? How much does America have to take before heads roll and people are truly held accountable?
Disclosure: No positions