I have posted to this blog before about the shenanigans going on at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA in government alphabet-speak. FINRA is the quasi-governmental, self-regulatory organization all members of the investment brokerage community must, by law, belong to. In this post I showed how a huge conflict of interest exists between FINRA bureaucrats and the brokers they allegedly serve. What I have recently learned convinces me that things are much worse than what I have imagined. Thanks to the efforts of a broker friend, in passing along to me public information that I would never have come across on my own, I have been able to see just how much the government of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is persecuting people who are in the investment brokerage business in this stiflingly bureaucratic land. Indeed, FINRA has suspended the 4th and 5th Amendment rights of all its members. That sounds a little harsh but it is true. Allow me to explain.
The 4th Amendment recognizes your right to live a secret life. Yes, it is true, the 4th Amendment was written because the founding fathers of this envy filled land believed that you should be able to live your life without being seen by the government. As long as you do not commit an act of violence against your neighbor, the government should have no idea what you are doing or what you are up to. Although there were sporadic short-term violations of your right to be secure from government surveillance of your personal affairs throughout the history of this land, the wholesale abandonment of the 4th Amendment did not really take place until 9/11. The sheeple who reside in this country were so terrified by the vision of the twin towers and the panic-filled warnings of our rulers that we were all about to be killed by terrorists that they blindly and stupidly embraced the provisions of the Patriot Act. Basically everyone without a brain to think or a heart of courage decided to give up all civil rights in exchange for a false promise of government provided security from terrorism.
The Patriot Act impacted investment brokers by making them subject to the provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act. As a result of the Patriot Act all brokers were suddenly made responsible for turning over private information about their clients to the government at any time and without probable cause. Any broker who refuses to provide the desired information can and will be fined and imprisoned for a violation of the Patriot Act. The net result is that all information collected by your broker about your personal financial situation is available to the various government agencies (NSA, FBI, CIA, TSA, HS, etc) at their whim. To make matters worse, the poor broker is also forbidden from telling you that you are being subjected to an unconstitutional and immoral investigation by your own government. If he does tell you about the fact that you are being spied upon he will be fined and imprisoned. What is a broker to do?
I was aware of the violations of the 4th Amendment that brokers and their clients are forced to undergo some time ago. The violation of the 5th Amendment that brokers are subjected to is new information to me. My broker friend sent me a copy of an email of a broker who is running for some seat within FINRA. As a part of his campaign he is quoting from the FINRA rule book about how internal investigations of investment brokers are conducted. Here is a portion of that email message:
"In FINRA’s OTR instructions, under FINRA Rule 8210, in
their “ADDENDUM A TO REQUEST FOR TESTIMONY,” which accompanies their summons for
an On The Record Interview (deposition), the following admonition is
“You are obligated, under FINRA rules, to answer all
questions asked by FINRA staff. Please be informed that FINRA is not a
governmental agency, and thus, does not recognize the Fifth
Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in any of its
proceedings, including an OTR. Should you refuse to answer any questions based
on and assertion of the privilege, you may be subject to a FINRA disciplinary
action and the imposition of sanctions, including a bar from the securities
industry, suspension, censure and/or fine.”
The SEC is using FINRA to circumvent the Constitution.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects us against
self-incrimination. However, as you can see, FINRA is above all
If the SEC calls you to give testimony, since the SEC
is a governmental agency, you have the Constitutional Right to protect yourself
against self-incrimination, by citing the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution,
if you are asked a question that you feel would be self-incriminating. The SEC
can then tell FINRA to conduct an OTR, give them the questions that you refused
to answer by invoking the Fifth and you are compelled to answer since you have
no Fifth Amendment protection with FINRA."
The emphasis in the above quote is by the author. I think it is a good use of bold print. It is flabbergastingly, if there is such a word, incomprehensible that a government bureaucrat could believe that it is possible to suspend the 5th Amendment by means of a bureaucratic rule. But there it is, in bold print. The career bureaucrats at FINRA have written a rule that suspends the 5th Amendment rights of all brokers who are members of FINRA, which is just about all brokers who operate in this sad land. FINRA bureaucrats claim power for themselves that even the FBI, CIA, NSA, and HS do not claim. FINRA bureacrats claim that all brokers must incriminate themselves whenever they are asked a question by their government superiors. What makes all of this most galling is the fact that FINRA is not a government organization. It is a self-regulatory organization that ostensibly exists to serve its members by helping them comply with the rules being enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission. But rather than act as a buffer between hard working investment brokers and the bureaucratic beast which is the SEC, FINRA has jumped into bed with the SEC and adopts an adversarial stance towards the very brokers who pay the salaries of the FINRA employees.
There is no doubt that what FINRA is doing is both immoral and unconstitutional. Unfortunately, given the state of the law in this land today, it is legal. It saddens me to know that my poor broker has to operate under immoral conditions imposed upon him by the federal government that are the direct result of the cowardice and state-worshiping attitude of the disgusting citizens in this land.