Mark Pittman, one of the Bloomberg reporters mentioned in my August 5 post, The Death of Capitalism, was an award-winning finance journalist who predicted the collapse of the banking system in 2007, and in conjunction with Bloomberg News, became the first person to sue the Federal Reserve Bank, asking for information withheld from the public about trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. A federal judge ruled in his favor against Fed secrecy in 2009, but the Fed continued its appeal. Pittman never got to know the final outcome. He died later that year at the young age of 52. Some of the Fed data was finally released on March 21, 2011. New York Times:The Fed’s Crisis Lending: A Billion Here, a Thousand There
Mark Pittman was interviewed by Ryan Chittum of the Columbia Journalism Review in February of 2009, about nine months before his death. Some excerpts:
The thing that people don’t realize is that the Fed is now the “bad bank.” That’s just something that people don’t understand. They’ve taken collateral, and they refuse to tell us how they valued it …
But nobody wants to have the adult conversation. We need to be honest about what the problem is here, how big it is, and how we’re going forward to clean it up, and who’s going to pay for it.
Hopefully, we will be able to inform the people enough to know how badly we’re getting screwed (laughs). We need to know how to prevent it from happening again, and we need to know who did it. There’s renewed energy on this front because we’ve staffed up the people who cover banks, the securities firms. We have a lot more people going at real estate and a bunch of different areas that this involves. That was a conscious move from meetings we started having in 2007. We hired people and we moved people from one area to another area.
This is a big deal and it’s going to be going on — I swear to God I’m going to retire on this story, because it’s just going to keep happening.
Pittman had a history of heart problems. The cause of his death on November 25, 2009 “was not immediately clear,” according to news reports. Despite a long search, I could not find any new information about his cause of death. It’s as if nobody bothered or wanted to find out.
This is the photo of Woody Guthrie used by Pittman to sign off on his emails: