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Tom Skerritt

I LOVE Elizabeth Warren: All aboard - WOO WOO!!!

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8 hours ago, Ned said:

Read that last night - unreal, if true.

I've always been skeptical about those hotlines, "anonymous" engagement surveys, etc that they force on us. :tinfoilhat:

 

 

Not at all unreal. It's corporate America (greed) at it's finest. It's rampant among the already rich CEO's. Once again, nothing will come from this dog and pony show. The greedy executives will slip Warren and the rest some $ behind closed doors, so to speak, and that will be the end of it.

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8 hours ago, parasaurolophus said:

How can you honestly say this? 

OK you got me. In my experience with a couple of dozen wf employees that is what they have said. I have not travelled the country interviewing their workforce to get to the underlying issues in every branch. You win.

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On 9/21/2016 at 2:44 PM, Sammy3469 said:
On 9/21/2016 at 2:16 PM, Ned said:

It's really hard to say one way or the other.  I do reporting all the time for the C-suite and they could get their hands on this stuff if they wanted.  Did Stumpf? :shrug:

 

You said it much better than I did.  At least at the large banks where I know high-level tech managers, any of this information is available if the business/front of office wants it.  If WFC didn't, well then, that's on them as well for not spending the money to implement systems.  This is basic personnel and account information.  We aren't talking about a complex financial instrument which might be out of their league, but basic, fundamental business information.  

She is a democrat and HT is obsessed 

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28 minutes ago, The Big Guy said:

OK you got me. In my experience with a couple of dozen wf employees that is what they have said. I have not travelled the country interviewing their workforce to get to the underlying issues in every branch. You win.

I mostly just find it interesting that we give a free pass to the people that actually committed these crimes. They didn't do it for the bonuses they were paid, no, no they did it because of their tyrant bosses. They were driven to this. Why do I know this? Well because these poor people that were fired for breaking the law told me so. 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

I mostly just find it interesting that we give a free pass to the people that actually committed these crimes. They didn't do it for the bonuses they were paid, no, no they did it because of their tyrant bosses. They were driven to this. Why do I know this? Well because these poor people that were fired for breaking the law told me so. 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not giving them a free pass at all.  Quite frankly I would never have considered working for them because I knew how they operated and the nonsense that they forced onto their people.  I think that people who work there and find out what is going on and still stay there are out of their minds and deserve all the scorn that they receive.  I was just sharing what I had heard from associates why they would do what they do, not justifying it.

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33 minutes ago, Dickies said:

Why all the hate in here on Warren?  I feel like she is one of the few politicians actually doing something.

I generally like her, but in this case, the bold remains to be seen.

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1 minute ago, The Big Guy said:

I am not giving them a free pass at all.  Quite frankly I would never have considered working for them because I knew how they operated and the nonsense that they forced onto their people.  I think that people who work there and find out what is going on and still stay there are out of their minds and deserve all the scorn that they receive.  I was just sharing what I had heard from associates why they would do what they do, not justifying it.

I understand. You have more interaction with them than I do. I have only spoken to my cousin who works there still and wasn't involved. I just find this whole thing crazy. I dont understand how these employees aren't all at least getting charged with misdemeanors. If managers knew and directed their employees to do so, they should be charged too. Every single one of them.

If Elizabeth Warren was really trying to fix anything that is what she would push for. Instead she just goes after the millionaires. That shows what she is truly up to. 

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Elizabeth Warren doing some heavy lifting.  Very well done. 

 

Quote

 

Wells Fargo says CEO John Stumpf and the executive who ran the bank's retail banking division will forfeit tens of millions of dollars in pay as the bank tries to stem a scandal over its sales practices.

The independent directors at the nation's second-largest bank said Tuesday that Stumpf will forfeit $41 million in stock awards, while former retail banking executive Carrie Tolstedt will forfeit $19 million of her stock awards, effective immediately. Both are also giving up any bonuses for 2016, and Tolstedt will not receive any severance or any other compensation in connection with her retirement, the bank's directors said.

 

:thumbup:

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All the details of this Wells Fargo thing is appalling, it really is.  It's like something some Chinese bank would do, a real cooking of the books at a cultural level.  5000+ employees spread nationwide?  That's not a coincidence, that's a top down fleecing of America. 

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I don't want to radicalize the natives, but I think American citizenry ought to coalesce around an annual "no mortgage payment for you, banker" month until OUR executive branch fulfills its obligation to prosecute fiscal malfeasance.

If it's a race to the ethical bottom, let's all compete.

 

 

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On 9/22/2016 at 5:15 PM, The Commish said:
On 9/22/2016 at 4:41 PM, Dickies said:

Why all the hate in here on Warren?  I feel like she is one of the few politicians actually doing something.

I generally like her, but in this case, the bold remains to be seen.

Was some other politician responsible for creating the agency that exposed this fraud?

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1 hour ago, Slapdash said:

Was some other politician responsible for creating the agency that exposed this fraud?

The LA times exposed it.

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8 hours ago, Slapdash said:
On 9/22/2016 at 5:15 PM, The Commish said:
On 9/22/2016 at 4:41 PM, Dickies said:

Why all the hate in here on Warren?  I feel like she is one of the few politicians actually doing something.

I generally like her, but in this case, the bold remains to be seen.

Was some other politician responsible for creating the agency that exposed this fraud?

Not sure I understand :oldunsure: 

I thought this was exposed by a newspaper of some sort.  IMO, "exposing" isn't all that much of a "doing something" sort of thing, but maybe that's enough?  

Anyway, we got an internal memo this AM.  CEO has another hearing this Thursday.  He's recommended (and the board's approved) taking $41 million from himself and $16 million from Carrie Tolstedt.  That represents bonus money they received over the time these practices were happening.  Then while the active investigation of the retail bank continues he will forfeit his salary the whole time that investigation is running and Tolstedt is not allowed to exercise her stock options during that time (from 2008 to 2009).  She's also been terminated.

Edited by The Commish

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So the executives give up some bonus money, and the cash goes where?  It stays with the organization until some other schmuck figures a way to put it in their pocket. 

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10 hours ago, Doctor Detroit said:

All the details of this Wells Fargo thing is appalling, it really is.  It's like something some Chinese bank would do, a real cooking of the books at a cultural level.  5000+ employees spread nationwide?  That's not a coincidence, that's a top down fleecing of America. 

Getting 5000 employees to do something is quite difficult. Getting them to do something illegal on top of it? Wouldn't there be mountains of evidence that they were directed to do so consistently? Just teaching 5000 employees to do something can be damn near impossible, the amount of effort to teach people to freaking punch in properly to a new timekeeping system is absurd. More than likely this was a grass roots response to a bonus structure that mgmt turned a blind eye to because they liked the results.  

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20 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

Getting 5000 employees to do something is quite difficult. Getting them to do something illegal on top of it? Wouldn't there be mountains of evidence that they were directed to do so consistently? Just teaching 5000 employees to do something can be damn near impossible, the amount of effort to teach people to freaking punch in properly to a new timekeeping system is absurd. More than likely this was a grass roots response to a bonus structure that mgmt turned a blind eye to because they liked the results.  

:lmao:

This is so true.

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12 hours ago, Slapdash said:

Was some other politician responsible for creating the agency that exposed this fraud?

Just to be clear, the work that the CFPB does was previously being done across a variety of federal agencies. Dodd Frank just consolidated all of that into a new agency. 

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12 hours ago, parasaurolophus said:

Getting 5000 employees to do something is quite difficult. Getting them to do something illegal on top of it? Wouldn't there be mountains of evidence that they were directed to do so consistently? Just teaching 5000 employees to do something can be damn near impossible, the amount of effort to teach people to freaking punch in properly to a new timekeeping system is absurd. More than likely this was a grass roots response to a bonus structure that mgmt turned a blind eye to because they liked the results.  

It absolutely happened, these aren't MC Gas Herpes types, these are people with financial degrees trying to work the system encouraged by Wells Fargo HQ. 

The State of California dropped their Wells Fargo accounts today, every person with an account there should immediately leave.  This is a huge fraud case where the fundamental position of the financial establishment was to steal from its customers. 

Edited by Doctor Detroit

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1 hour ago, Doctor Detroit said:

It absolutely happened, these aren't MC Gas Herpes types, these are people with financial degrees trying to work the system encouraged by Wells Fargo HQ. 

The State of California dropped their Wells Fargo accounts today, every person with an account there should immediately leave.  This is a huge fraud case where the fundamental position of the financial establishment was to steal from its customers. 

I don't disagree with the second paragraph, but I think the only sales people on the retail side with a finance degree have it from the University of Phoenix.  Fresh out of college, I was temping there in an accounting type of role.  It didn't pay a ton, but even that was more than what the retail sales pulled in.  If I were given the option of working as a retail banker or going back to temping, I'd temp in an instant, and I think I even gave that advice to Eminence.  All that being said, I've only known a few people that had worked in a branch, so my experience is very limited, but I really empathize with anyone that has chosen that path at any bank.

 

That being said, I don't think you need a finance degree to realize that if you need that paycheck and they're squeezing you, you find ways to meet the goals, or you start looking for a new job.  I know plenty of history majors and journalism majors, maybe even a poli-sci major that have worked in banking.  All were crafty enough to do something like that, but even the shadiest of them wouldn't have done it for ethical reasons.  According to a story I read 98% of the bankers did not get fired (maybe just not caught, I don't know), maybe if I had 50 friends that worked at one, I'd know one that cheated, but I'm just speculating and assuming I have an average base of friends.  I like to think they are above average ethical people, but below average fantasy football owners, maybe an ideal combo.

 

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29 minutes ago, Vanilla Guerrilla said:

I don't disagree with the second paragraph, but I think the only sales people on the retail side with a finance degree have it from the University of Phoenix.  Fresh out of college, I was temping there in an accounting type of role.  It didn't pay a ton, but even that was more than what the retail sales pulled in.  If I were given the option of working as a retail banker or going back to temping, I'd temp in an instant, and I think I even gave that advice to Eminence.  All that being said, I've only known a few people that had worked in a branch, so my experience is very limited, but I really empathize with anyone that has chosen that path at any bank.

 

That being said, I don't think you need a finance degree to realize that if you need that paycheck and they're squeezing you, you find ways to meet the goals, or you start looking for a new job.  I know plenty of history majors and journalism majors, maybe even a poli-sci major that have worked in banking.  All were crafty enough to do something like that, but even the shadiest of them wouldn't have done it for ethical reasons.  According to a story I read 98% of the bankers did not get fired (maybe just not caught, I don't know), maybe if I had 50 friends that worked at one, I'd know one that cheated, but I'm just speculating and assuming I have an average base of friends.  I like to think they are above average ethical people, but below average fantasy football owners, maybe an ideal combo.

 

Interesting, thanks. 

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Just keeps getting better...

 

Quote

Wells Fargo will pay $24 million to settle allegations that it mistreated members of the military -- including illegally repossessing their cars.

The bank, already reeling from a scandal over fake accounts, will pay $4.1 million to settle Justice Department charges that it seized 413 cars owned by service members without a court order, a violation of federal law.

The Justice Department said the illegal repossessions took place from 2008 to 2015. The first complaint came from an Army National Guardsman in North Carolina who said the bank seized his car while he was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.

Wells Fargo then auctioned his car and tried to collect a balance of $10,000 from his family, the Justice Department said.

The bank will pay $10,000 to each of the affected service members, plus lost equity in the cars with interest, and repair their credit.

The bank was fined $20 million more by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for breaking three provisions of the same law by denying members of the military certain banking protections, including capping their interest rates at 6%. Those violations began in 2006, the OCC said.

Wells Fargo said in a statement that it apologizes for not living up to its commitment of ensuring that all service members "receive the appropriate benefits and protections."

"We have been notifying and fully compensating customers and will complete this work in 60 days," the company said.

News of the penalties came as Wells Fargo and CEO John Stumpf faced the wrath of the House Financial Services Committee at a hearing about the millions of fake bank and credit card accounts, plus claims that it retaliated against whistleblowers.

The company is also facing lawsuits from shareholders, former employees and customers.

 

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While Warren is a Senator, I think it's a little unfair to lump her in with the other "politicians".  She only took elected office 3 years ago.  Her background is in consumer protection and commercial law so unlike most of the others, she actually knows what she is talking about.

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On 9/28/2016 at 10:34 PM, Vanilla Guerrilla said:

I don't disagree with the second paragraph, but I think the only sales people on the retail side with a finance degree have it from the University of Phoenix.  Fresh out of college, I was temping there in an accounting type of role.  It didn't pay a ton, but even that was more than what the retail sales pulled in.  If I were given the option of working as a retail banker or going back to temping, I'd temp in an instant, and I think I even gave that advice to Eminence.  All that being said, I've only known a few people that had worked in a branch, so my experience is very limited, but I really empathize with anyone that has chosen that path at any bank.

 

That being said, I don't think you need a finance degree to realize that if you need that paycheck and they're squeezing you, you find ways to meet the goals, or you start looking for a new job.  I know plenty of history majors and journalism majors, maybe even a poli-sci major that have worked in banking.  All were crafty enough to do something like that, but even the shadiest of them wouldn't have done it for ethical reasons.  According to a story I read 98% of the bankers did not get fired (maybe just not caught, I don't know), maybe if I had 50 friends that worked at one, I'd know one that cheated, but I'm just speculating and assuming I have an average base of friends.  I like to think they are above average ethical people, but below average fantasy football owners, maybe an ideal combo.

 

:bowtie:

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On 9/28/2016 at 8:42 PM, Doctor Detroit said:

 every person with an account there should immediately leave.

I'm sticking around in hopes of some settlement money :popcorn:

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I know he had some stripped, he lost $41 million to be exact because of this.

Which means he lost 1/4 of his total worth he had gotten over 40+ years.

Edited by BigSteelThrill

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On ‎9‎/‎30‎/‎2016 at 3:22 AM, Sebowski said:

Anyone else see this thread title and exist it to be about over priced cactus water at Whole Foods? Just me?

I'm almost certain its just you Sebowski.

 

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39 minutes ago, MaxThreshold said:

Warren had him ousted?  Or was he leaving anyways?

Wells Fargo has a policy where he would have had to mandatory retire 2 years from now when he turns 65, this is basically falling on the sword.

 

Edit: The mandatory retirement policy is only for high level executives, not the rank and file.

Edited by Buckna

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Just now, Buckna said:

Wells Fargo has a policy where he would have had to mandatory retire 2 years from now when he turns 65, this is basically falling on the sword.

His showing in front of the senate was more like having that $word forcibly shoved through his ribs.

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47 minutes ago, MaxThreshold said:

Warren had him ousted?  Or was he leaving anyways?

He was already leaving basically, didn't have much time left with the company.

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3 minutes ago, BigSteelThrill said:

His showing in front of the senate was more like having that $word forcibly shoved through his ribs.

It's pretty obvious he underestimated and was unprepared for the fire storm the scandal would create and now he is paying the price. I still stand by my earlier statement that the vitriol most of the politicians spat at him in those hearings was nothing more than BS sound-bites and free publicity beating up on the big evil corporation for their re-election campaigns. Warren is pretty consistent in being anti-big bank so there is that, but most of the rest of those jokers were there for the photo-op.

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1 hour ago, MaxThreshold said:
1 hour ago, BigSteelThrill said:

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is out

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/ceo-wells-fargo-210140635.html

Well ####### done Senator Warren!

Warren had him ousted?  Or was he leaving anyways?

He's been flirting with retirement the last 5 years or so since he'd have to retire at 65 anyway....probably not what some want to hear, but it's the truth.

Edited by The Commish

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People here are gonna be REALLY pissed when they realize the guy replacing Stumpf is BY FAR one of the biggest "good ole boys" WF could have appointed.  

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50 minutes ago, The Commish said:

People here are gonna be REALLY pissed when they realize the guy replacing Stumpf is BY FAR one of the biggest "good ole boys" WF could have appointed.  

Yet no one should be surprised.

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I have a good friend that is a bank manager at a WF.  Been with them for 5+ year managing a retail branch.  Before that he managed a branch of Suntrust, and before that he was a retail banker (in college and then out of college).  He said that the bonus structure was different at WF than ST, and that the aggressive sales goals came from corporate.  A new bonus structure was just rolled out (pushed from Jan 1 to immediate) that bonuses aren't based on sales numbers at all.

He said that bankers or managers weren't instructed to commit fraud by anyone, and if he knew about a fraudulent account being opened, then he'd have the banker fired.  I know he did so on at least one occasion in the last five years, because he was upset at having to lose a quality banker with experience.  He also said that his bonus (which was only like 2-3% of his take home, as opposed to bankers where it was 10-15% of their take home) was based on sales numbers (new accounts, etc.) as well as service levels (based on customer surveys / feedback).  He said he very rarely hit his sales goals (like once every 2-3 years), but nearly always hit his service goals.  I remember him struggling with trying to figure out how to motivate his staff to sell more products since he couldn't hit his sales numbers.  I guess some other people figured out a way... although it was illegal.

Anyway, based on his comments, it's likely that a) WF set up a system that rewarded sales numbers more than necessary (high pressure on bankers), b) didn't do an adequate job of investigating fraud cases (and you KNOW there had to have been 1000s of complaints if 2m accounts were opened without permission), and c) didn't act fast enough to change their tactics (which bred the culture) after the fraud was uncovered.  There's no reason that the same bonus structure was in place up until this month.  That's some head in the sand #### right there.

Anyway, he's a good dude, a great poker player and I'm glad he didn't get caught up in any of that ish.

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Keith Olbermann @KeithOlbermann 16m16 minutes ago

Or any voters, clearly. Or for that matter, a psychiatrist

Quote

Ted NesiVerified account @TedNesi 25m25 minutes ago

Curt Schilling on 2018 US Senate bid vs E Warren:

"I've made my decision. I'm going to run. But - but - I haven't talked to Shonda, my wife"

 

Edited by squistion

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She is such a fraud

 

 

Elizabeth Warren prime recipient of questionable law firm donations

Thornton Law Firm, a progressive Massachusetts-based firm that donates heavily to Democrat campaigns, including that of Elizabeth Warren, seems to have bit of a problem with its (now former) “bonus” scheme.  Many of Thornton’s “bonuses” to its partners were in the exact same amount of said partners’ “personal” donations to political campaigns . . . often paid within ten days of their making said political donations.

Explaining that Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) flew to Boston to join other political candidates hoping to cash in at Thornton Law Firm, The Boston Globe reports:

But a striking thing happened the day Tester visited in 2010. Partner David C. Strouss received a payment from the firm labeled as a “bonus” that exactly equaled his $2,400 contribution to Tester’s campaign, the maximum allowed. A few days later, partner Garrett Bradley — until recently the House assistant majority leader on Beacon Hill — got a bonus, too, exactly matching his $2,400 gift to Tester.

 

This pattern of payments — contributions offset by bonus payments — was commonplace at Thornton, according to a review of law firm records by the Spotlight Team and the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based nonprofit that tracks campaign finance data.

From 2010 through 2014, Strouss and Bradley, along with founding partner Michael Thornton and his wife, donated nearly $1.6 million to Democratic Party fund-raising committees and a parade of politicians — from Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada to Hawaii gubernatorial candidate David Ige to Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Over the same span, the lawyers received $1.4 million listed as “bonuses” in Thornton Law Firm records; more than 280 of the contributions precisely matched bonuses that were paid within 10 days.

Thornton Law Firm insists that its donation reimbursement program complies with applicable state and federal campaign finance laws.

The Boston Globe continues:

Thornton, through a spokesman, said its donation reimbursement program was reviewed by outside lawyers and complied with applicable laws. Campaign finance experts said that without reviewing the firm’s records, they cannot say the payback system breaks the law, but that it raises numerous red flags.

That’s because reimbursing people for their political donations is generally illegal, several experts said. When political donors are repaid for their donations, it can conceal the real source of contributions, and enable the unnamed source of the funds to exceed state and federal contribution limits. And in some states — Massachusetts among them — political donations to state candidates from corporations and partnerships such as Thornton Law Firm are flatly illegal.

Reimbursing donors is “among the most serious campaign violations, in the view of both the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice,” said Daniel Petalas, an attorney who served as acting general counsel of the FEC until September.

“Using straw donors to make contributions is illegal,” said Larry Noble, general counsel of the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center and a former general counsel of the FEC. “People can go and have gone to prison for this.”

Thornton’s attorney on the matter, told the Globe that “bonus” was an inaccurate term because the monies really come from the partners’ equity in the firm.

The Boston Globe continues:

Thornton officials declined to comment, instead hiring a former federal prosecutor to respond to the Globe’s questions.

The ex-prosecutor, Brian Kelly, said the bonuses should not have been called bonuses at all because they were paid from the lawyers’ own money. He said an accountant deducted the payments from their equity, or ownership, in the firm. When lawyers leave Thornton Law and cash in their equity, he said, their financial settlement with Thornton would be reduced by the amount of the bonuses.

Kelly provided a written statement from Michael Thornton saying that “an error made internally” led to the payments being called bonuses. Thornton said he changed the way they were labeled in 2015, several years into the program, when he discovered the mistake.

“It’s obviously not a crime to make lots of donations to politicians, and they certainly did that,” said Kelly. “But their donation program was vetted by prior counsel and an outside accountant, and the firm made every effort to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Thornton’s “donation program” has helped a long list of politicians from Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer to Harry Reid and Joe Biden (emphasis added):

By donating as individuals, lawyers for the firm were able to collectively give far more to individual candidates in a single year than the firm could have donated directly under federal law.

Over a 10-day period in 2013, for example, Thornton partners gave $52,000 to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a subcommittee chairman on the Senate Judiciary Committee — 20 times as much as the $2,600 that the partnership itself could have donated. (Corporate contributions are illegal under federal law, but partnership contributions are not.)

. . . . From 2010 through 2014, Strouss and Bradley, along with founding partner Michael Thornton and his wife, donated nearly $1.6 million to Democratic Party fund-raising committees and a parade of politicians — from Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada to Hawaii gubernatorial candidate David Ige to Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Over the same span, the lawyers received $1.4 million listed as “bonuses” in Thornton Law Firm records; more than 280 of the contributions precisely matched bonuses that were paid within 10 days.

. . . . In 2012, the lawyers gave Warren $42,200, 16 times as much as the firm could have given her directly.

Thornton’s lawyers were especially generous to Vice President Joe Biden, one of Washington’s strongest advocates for trial lawyers, contributing more than $78,000 to his campaigns from 2003 to 2008.

During President Obama and Biden’s reelection campaign in 2012, Michael Thornton hosted a fund-raiser for the Obama Victory Fund at his house in Cambridge, where Biden was the guest of honor. Some of the biggest donors — some Thornton partners gave $20,000 — were escorted into a private room and offered the chance to be photographed with Biden, said someone who was there. Thornton records show the lawyers were reimbursed for those donations.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/10/29/prominent-democratic-law-firm-pays-questionable-bonuses-partners-for-campaign-contributions/GpD5tRQZR7pRe8hwAvQw8N/story.html

According to the Globe, Thornton Law has contributed to only one Republican:  Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Just one Republican senator has collected contributions from Thornton’s lawyers. Lindsey Graham, an idiosyncratic South Carolinian and former trial lawyer, received $62,800 over the last decade. Graham helped peel away enough GOP support in the Senate to ensure the trust fund bill’s death on Valentine’s Day 2006, according to former Senate aides.

The Globe interviewed former employees at Thornton Law and reviewed bonus checks; they report how the “bonus” system started and that the checks clearly indicate the bonus is reimbursement for a particular candidate.

Once Michael Thornton’s willingness to raise large amounts of money became known among lawyers and politicians, the American Association for Justice, the trial lawyers’ Washington-based lobbying group, increasingly turned to the firm’s lawyers for help, even for little-known candidates running in states far from Boston.

“At first it happened every three or four months, and then it was sometimes three or four times each month,” even though the threat of asbestos litigation reform had faded, said the former employee who requested anonymity.

As the number of fund-raisers started piling up, partners began to grouse. Even though Thornton called the contributions “voluntary,” partners felt pressured to give, according to the former employee. After all, Michael Thornton was the firm’s lead partner, with enormous sway over what the other partners were paid.

So, according to three former employees, Thornton Law Firm adopted the donation reimbursement system.

Bonus checks that were reviewed by the Globe made clear that the payments were for political donations, with notations giving the name of the politician the partner had donated to.

The Globe and the Center for Responsive Politics reviewed records covering payments to three senior partners — Thornton, Bradley, and Strouss — who are among the top shareholders in the firm. Then the Globe and the center matched the bonuses against federal, state, and local campaign records.

The Globe outlines the FEC requirements for partnerships like Thornton to reimburse partners for political donations . . . and notes that’s not what the firm did.

If those donations were determined to have actually been made by the firm — because the lawyers were reimbursed — they would be illegal, since political contributions from corporations or partnerships are prohibited in Massachusetts.

There’s no indication that any of the politicians who received Thornton donations knew anything about the law firm’s questionable reimbursement system.

The FEC does allow partners in a law firm to donate to political campaigns, but only if the funds clearly come from the partner’s own money. According to FEC rules, a partnership can contribute on behalf of its partners, but then must promptly deduct the amount of the donation from the next profit-sharing payments to the partners, called “partnership distributions.”

That’s not what Thornton did.

. . . . [R]eimbursing partners out of their equity in the firm — as Kelly said Thornton did — is likely illegal, said Brett Kappel, a Washington lawyer who specializes in campaign finance.

“If they were legitimate contributions, they should have been deducted from their partnership distributions,” Kappel said.

The Globe also offers a possible explanation for the senior partner’s surprising resignation from the state House of Representatives.

Bradley, the senior partner, abruptly resigned his position as assistant majority leader in the state House of Representatives on June 27 after the Globe had begun asking questions about his firm’s business practices.

His decision stunned colleagues, coming so late in the election cycle that there was no time to take his name off the November ballot.

Bradley explained at the time that Michael Thornton was retiring and that he, Bradley, was being promoted to managing partner of his law firm. As a result, he wanted to focus on his legal work. Thornton is now chairman of the firm.

“I wouldn’t have the time to do this [legislative] job the way it should be done” because of the promotion, Bradley explained to the State House News Service. “It’s bittersweet for me.”

Interestingly, Thornton stopped its campaign reimbursement/bonus program after the Globe began asking questions.

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