Letter to Senate Committee on Ethics

Letter to Senate Committee on EthicsRe: Continuing Ethics Violations by Senator Pat Toomey

As the HSBC Whistleblower and a former U.S. Senate candidate, I am appalled to learn that Senator Pat Toomey accepted campaign contributions from HSBC bank. A July 2012 congressional report found that between 2001 and 2010, HSBC had “exposed the U.S. financial system to a wide array of money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing risks due to poor anti-money laundering controls.” Literally billions of dollars passed through U.S. HSBC accounts, winding up in the hands of terrorists. What was the punishment HSBC received for this intentional and extensive violation of banking regulations? A $1.92 billion fine —an amount equivalent to the profits HSBC makes over the course of just five weeks. The punishment barely qualifies as a slap on the wrist. No one has been held personally accountable for these gross violations of banking regulations.

In addition to the original fine, U.S. authorities demanded that HSBC improve its anti-money laundering controls in exchange for a deferment of criminal prosecution for five years. Senator Patrick Toomey served on the Senate Banking Committee that provided this oversight and review, and played a critical role in HSBC’s “deferment” of prosecution.

I strongly believe that HSBC continues to intentionally thwart banking regulations and to ignore the money flowing through its U.S. accounts to drug cartels and terrorists. HSBC formed a Political Action Committee (PAC), and the HSBC PAC has contributed large sums of money to Senators on the Banking Committee. This is a major conflict of interest that is worthy of investigation.

If, as a private citizen, I donated even one dollar to a terrorist organization, I would be thrown in jail for a very long time. How is it that HSBC can do exactly that on a massive scale, and get what barely amounts to a slap on the wrist? Beyond that, how can they then give money to the political campaign of the Senator who let the company off the hook in the first place?

As a patriot and an American, I urge you to open an investigation into the financial relationship between Senator Pat Toomey, and other members of the Senate Banking Committee, and HSBC bank.

Everett A. Stern