“Turn $10,000 into $757,200.” “Make ten-times your money or better.” “Cash in on the Greatest Materials Bonanza Since the Invention of Plastic!” “BREAKTHROUGH: REMEDY FOR E.D.!” If you were to guess the origin of these spammy e-mails, someone like Lenny Dykstra would probably be the first person to come to mind. Meadow Soprano‘s ex-husband might come next, and somewhere in the mix would be one of the Baldwin brothers. Historically, a candidate for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors would not appear on the list. But times they are ’a changing:
Herman Cain, whom President Donald Trump is recommending to the Federal Reserve Board, has sent numerous sponsored e-mails to his mailing list promoting penny stocks that are now virtually worthless . . . The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission defines “penny stock” as generally referring “to a security issued by a very small company that trades at less than $5 per share” and says such stocks are “generally considered speculative investments.” The penny stock market is riddled with unsavory practices and fraud, especially because of paid promoters who attempt to pump up the price of penny stocks for the benefit of themselves and their employers.
Media Matters has received numerous sponsored e-mails from Herman Cain promoting penny stocks which are now virtually worthless. Those e-mails, which were not written by Cain, told readers of countless future financial rewards, including turning “$5,000 into more than $40,000 within a few short months”; making “ten-times your money or better”; and becoming “multi-millionaires in the process.” Cain’s penny stock mailings also include pitches from disgraced penny stock fraudster Tobin Smith, who was so corrupt that Fox News fired him in 2013 for violating a policy against paid stock promotions. In 2016, the S.E.C. announced that Smith “agreed to settle charges that he and his company fraudulently promoted a penny stock [IceWEB Inc.] to investors” and “agreed to be barred from involvement in any future penny stock offerings.”
In addition to his penny stock recommendations, a 2014 story from The New Republic noted Cain’s promotion of a “BREAKTHROUGH” cure for erectile dysfunction called TestoMax 200, a month’s supply of which could be yours for the low low price of $69.95. “Women get lonely very easily,” read a pop-up window preventing one from exiting the pitch. “Once you leave this page, your chances of getting your manhood mojo back will decrease dramatically.” According to The New Republic, TestoMax 200 was just one of more than 50 pitches “for miracle cures and easy-money tricks” that Cain sent to his mailing list between 2012 and 2014.
Some people might call the hawking of penny stocks and E.D. cures disqualifying for a Fed candidate, but Donald Trump is, of course, not one of them. And while a recent poll shows the majority of Wall Street panning the failed G.O.P. candidate’s nomination, as well as that of Stephen “Not a single economist thinks I should get the job” Moore, it’s distinctly possible that Cain will be helping to guide monetary and fiscal policy in the near future! As Paul Krugman wrote on Friday, “Choosing Cain is an assertion that Trump can pick anyone, and expect the party to kneel down. The thing is, he’s probably right. All indications now are that there is no nomination Trump can make that’s so absurd that more than 1 or 2 G.O.P. Senators will say no.”
If you would like to receive the Levin Report in your inbox daily, click here to subscribe.
Report: Wall Street should probably gird its loins now through 2020
An upcoming flogging on Capitol Hill will likely serve as a preview for what bank C.E.O.s can expect during the presidential election:
The chief executives of some of the U.S.’s biggest banks should get ready for hostility as they’re about to serve as political-theater targets at a House committee hearing on Wednesday, analysts say. The House Financial Services Committee’s hearing is titled, “Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 Years After the Financial Crisis.” Witnesses include Citigroup Inc.’s Michael Corbat, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon, Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman, Bank of America Corp.’s Brian Moynihan, State Street Corp.’s Ronald O’Hanley, Bank of New York Mellon Corp.’s Charles Scharf, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David Solomon.
“We expect Democrats to go on attack, questioning big bank profits, executive compensation, regulatory relief, and tax benefits,” Seiberg wrote in a note. Issues on tap will include why the biggest banks need any regulatory relief, as they’ve earned $780 billion over the last 10 years, with JPMorgan possibly in focus as the hearing memorandum shows the bank earned $215 billion over 10 years, he said. “Do you cage children?” may be a topic as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had previously grilled Wells Fargo’s then-C.E.O. Tim Sloan on the subject of for-profit prisons. Issues like financing for fossil fuels, gun manufacturers, and other businesses lawmakers may find objectionable may also arise.
“This all matters,” Seiberg wrote in his note to clients, “because it is a preview of the 2020 election and what could happen if a Democrat wins,” adding that how the hearing goes over on social media may show “whether big bank bashing is a winning strategy.”
If having such a porous security operation that a woman carrying a veritable tool kit for spies can gain entry is wrong, Mar-a-Lago doesn’t wanna be right
Relax, everyone, there’s nothing to see here:
Yujing Zhang, the woman who allegedly breached security at President Donald Trump’s private Florida club while carrying Chinese passports and a flash drive containing malware late last month, had a signal detector, other electronic devices, and thousands of dollars in cash in her hotel room, federal prosecutors said Monday, suggesting the possibility she was trying to spy on the U.S.
Prosecutors say they found multiple electronic devices in her hotel room, including a signal detector that can seek out and detect hidden cameras, another cell phone, nine USB drives and five SIM cards. There were also several credit cards in her name in the room—at the upscale Colony Hotel a block from the beach. She also had more than $8,000 in U.S. and Chinese currency, with $7,500 of it in $100 bills. . . . Zhang, 32, has not yet entered a plea to the criminal charges she faces, and prosecutors said they plan to formally indict her in the coming week.
Last week, Trump called the incident a “fluke.” Former intelligence officials told The New York Times that having a president who spends his weekend among customers—most of them strangers to him—is “a nightmare” for the Secret Service. “If I’m an intelligence service I’m going to pay the membership fee, get someone with a clean background and have them become a member of the community,” said John Cohen, a former acting under secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. “I’m going to have them bring in guests on a regular basis, and that’s going to be my strategy. I now have close proximity to the president’s staff and maybe even the president himself.”
Thankfully, once the Secret Service became aware of Zhang’s presence, it did exactly the right thing:
Lyft threatens Morgan Stanley with legal action over I.P.O. claims (N.Y.P.)
Two More Parents to Plead Guilty in College-Admissions Case (W.S.J.)
Cancel Kirstjen Nielsen (NYT)
American billionaires call for upgrades to capitalism, starting with higher taxes on themselves (CNBC)
Here’s who will get rich from Pinterest’s I.P.O. (CNBC)
Modern Monetary Theory Finds an Embrace in an Unexpected Place: Wall Street (N.Y.T.)
Tax refunds through March down $6 billion from last year (The Hill)
Trump to announce new executive orders to speed up pipeline construction (The Hill)
Loose flamingo causes commotion on airport runway (UPI)
More Great Stories from Vanity Fair
—The Ivanka e-mail bombshell
— The key to understanding the dark heart of the Mueller report is counter-intelligence
— Why some of the biggest names in publishing are resisting Apple’s pull
— The art world’s ultimate cage match
Looking for more? Sign up for our daily Hive newsletter and never miss a story.