For as many questions as JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s recent testimony answered, there was one that it raised: What’s with the presidential cufflinks?
Several sources have now reported that the prominent cufflinks Dimon wore during the hearing bore the seal of the President of the United States, with John Carney reporting them to be "a gift from a resident of the White House," though just who specifically remains unknown. Dimon has been known to sport government seals, including the FBI’s, on his cuffs as part of his “best-dressed CEO” ensembles.
Reports that Dimon wore the cufflinks because they are his most “patriotic” may be the simplest explanation, but other theories abound. Is Dimon insinuating that he himself is the boss, CNBC’s John Carney asks? Or maybe it’s a nod to his past support for President Obama, and a subtle dig at the GOP given Dimon’s status as a Democrat, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wonders.
Better yet, maybe Dimon is reminding people that it’s President Obama that’s in fact supporting him? Even after recent criticism of the bank CEO, President Obama called Dimon “one of the smartest bankers we’ve got” during an interview on The View in May, according to Politico.
Whatever the reason behind the cufflinks, one thing that’s for certain is that both Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase have plenty of close ties with Washington. Aside from the fact that JPMorgan spent more money than any other major bank on Washington lobbying in 2009, both Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Committee itself have associations with America's biggest bank by assets. Senators Tim Johnson, Richard Selby, Jack Reed, Mike Crapo and Charles Schumer, for example, all count JPMorgan Chase as one of their top five biggest campaign contributors, according to American Banker.
Check out some of Dimon's most memorable quotes on financial regulation below:
Trading Loss 'Puts Egg On Our Face'
Dimon said JPMorgan Chase's unexpected $2 billion loss on credit trades in May "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/jpmorgan-chase-london-whale_n_1507662.html?ref=business" target="_hplink">puts egg on our face, and we deserve any criticism we get</a>."
Regulation 'The Nail In Our Coffin'
In March 2011, Dimon expressed his fear over new regulations, warning that higher capital requirements would be "pretty much the nail in our coffin for big American banks," according to the <a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3157bcbe-5b05-11e0-a290-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss#axzz1IB5kVGLG" target="_hplink">Financial Times</a>.
Warning that limiting proprietary trading would also affect market making, <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/45986077/Jamie_Dimon_Regulators_Undermining_Economic_Objectives" target="_hplink">Dimon was quoted by CNBC</a>, "The United States has...the most liquid [capital markets in the world]. If you lose liquidity because you lose market making, you cost investors money."
'Little To Do With Financial Crisis'
"Proprietary trading had very little to do with the financial crisis," <a href="http://www.gurufocus.com/news/159099/interview--jpmorgan-ceo-jamie-dimon-on-regulation-volcker-rule-some-of-the-global-regulations-are-unamerican)" target="_hplink">Dimon told FOX Business Network Senior Correspondent Charlie Gasparino</a> in January, adding that "you can't even make markets for your clients" with the Volcker Rule.
Volcker 'Doesn't Understand'
"Paul Volcker by his own admission has said he doesn't understand capital markets," <a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/04/06/what-volcker-rule-could-mean-for-jpmorgans-big-trades" target="_hplink">Dimon told FOX Business.</a> "He has proven that to me."
Volcker Rule Too Narrow
in February, Dimon asserted the Volcker Rule had been written too narrowly. "If you want to be trading, you have to have a lawyer and a psychiatrist sitting next to you determining what was your intent every time you did something," he was quoted as saying in <a href="http://news.businessweek.com/article.asp?documentKey=1377-aIjS6U8zr2Z8-1PEFKF7I5P2SI88Q43D587IV8L" target="_hplink">Businessweek</a>.