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John Crudele: Treasury clams up on PPT
Hank, Why Are You
Ignoring My FOI Requests?
By John Crudele
New York Post
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
I've decided to send a very public letter to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.
Dear Mr. Paulson:
How ya doing?
I think you're doing a wonderful job as Treasury secretary. And don't think I'm saying that just because I'm looking for a favor.
You have been pretty invisible compared with others in that job and, frankly, that worries me a little. It also gets me to the point of this letter.
Hank, I don't trust you. There are just too many ways for you and your former Wall Street firm, Goldman Sachs, to cheat the financial markets.
But don't think I'm picking on just Goldman -- I'm a little suspicious of any firm that can make billions on a single trade with the right connections.
So on July 25, 2006, my lawyer drafted a request under Section 552 of the Federal Code called the Freedom of Information Act asking for documents generated by the President's Working Group on Financial Markets.
Around here we call it the Plunge Protection Team.
That request was ignored, although we did get a phone call from someone many months back saying they were working on it.
So on Feb. 28 I had my lawyer file another request. This time we asked for minutes of meetings that might have taken place that day and the day before.
My poor lawyer is getting a little frustrated, but I told him maybe the requests got lost in the mail. That's why I'm sending this parcel-Post -- pardon the pun.
It's only April, but I get the feeling that you're going to ignore me again.
Perhaps you missed it, but around the time of the first FOIA request, I documented what I believed the Plunge Protection Team was up to.
I believe that this group you head, and which includes regulators, brokerage firm chiefs as well as major market players, tries to protect the stock market.
George Stephanopoulos explained it -- although not very eloquently -- when he was a guest on "Good Morning America" on Sept. 17, 2001.
"And perhaps the most important, there's been -- the Fed in 1989 created what is called the Plunge Protection Team ..." and they "have plans in place to consider if the stock market starts to fall."
Poor George was a little discombobulated. It was right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But since he was a very close adviser to President Clinton, Stephanopoulos would have known if something as important as this was happening.
Don't get me wrong. I think rigging the financial markets is a good thing when the nation's security is at risk.
I'm a little leery of putting the likes of hedge funds, Wall Street firms, and others with very vested interests in charge of this effort -- how could that possibly go wrong?
If you want everyone to be aware that Treasury is on the ball and ready to come to Wall Street's rescue, why not turn over the documents I've requested?
Could it be because you don't want us to know about some very odd trading patterns on Feb. 27 and 28 this year that saved the stock market from having a truly ugly day?
Maybe you'd prefer not to explain why traders such as Paul Tudor Jones are reportedly being consulted by the Plunge Protection Team.
Anyway, I hope you can get that stuff to me pronto. At the very least, please have your lawyers call my lawyer and give him the usual runaround.
Have a nice day printing money.
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