Wall Street's "Big Lie"

The full extent of Wall Street's corruption doesn't stop at Enron and Arthur Andersen. Extraordinary revelations about Merrill Lynch surfaced this week when Eliot Spitzer, the New York state attorney general, publicized e-mail messages that circulated among Merrill's stock analysts, suggesting that the analysts privately doubted the stocks they publicly recommended to clients. Stocks that Merrill rated as "buys" were described internally as "a piece of junk" and "a piece of crap." One analyst, Kirsten Campbell, wrote to a colleague that the pressure to bring in investment-banking fees was distorting stock ratings. "We are losing people money, and I don't like it," she said. "The whole idea that we are independent from banking is a big lie."


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