Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Is JPMorgan Chase, the imperious mega-bank, a hapless victim of what a Post editorial dubbed “political persecution”? Is it the innocent target of a Justice Department “shakedown,” as The Wall Street Journal’s editors charged, with Justice “confiscating” JPMorgan’s earnings “for no other reason than because they can and because they want to appease their left-wing populist allies”?

The announcement that JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, personally negotiated the announced $13 billion settlement with the Justice Department has set off howls in the press. The Post suggested that JPMorgan only made the same errors about housing prices that everyone else made. The government was charged with acting in bad faith, holding JPMorgan accountable for misdeeds committed by Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual before Dimon agreed to acquire them at the behest of the government. All in all, we’re supposed to see this deal as a miscarriage of justice.

Give me a break.

Thirteen billion dollars is a lot of money—the biggest fine for one company in US history. But it only represents about five months of JPMorgan’s operating income in 2013, and it’s barely more than a third of what JPMorgan is spending on lawyers to defend itself.

It is hard to be sympathetic when reading JPMorgan’s recent rap sheet. In the last three years alone, it has paid billions to settle charges that it (1) manipulated the market in the infamous “London Whale” trading debacle; (2) rigged energy prices in California and the Midwest; (3) improperly foreclosed on homeowners; (4) bilked credit card holders by fixing prices and interest rates; (5) rigged municipal bond operations in 31 states; (6)gouged approximately 6,000 active-duty service members on mortgages and much more.

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.