Who Leaked the JPMorgan Chase FERC Document to the New York Times?

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The New York Times is still in exclusive possession of a confidential government document recommending that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sue several individuals at JPMorgan Chase over alleged "manipulative schemes" in connection with energy trading in California and Michigan.

I can confirm that the document exists and recommends official actions against the JPMorgan executives. But the document itself remains elusive.

As does the question of who gave it to the Times.

JPMorgan sources initially said the company believed the document was leaked by FERC. Later, it said that it was unclear who leaked the document, but that it was clear whoever leaked it was trying to make the bank "look bad by telling one half of the story."

"It is full of salacious and inaccurate BS," one person familiar with the matter said.

A government source familiar with the matter denies the leak came from FERC. This source believes the leak came from JPMorgan itself, in an attempt to prepare the market in advance of the filing of an actual lawsuit.

The story in the Times, however, does not seem to imply much cooperation on the part of JPMorgan. It's nearly all based on government accusations. If it were a JPMorgan plant, you'd expect the bank to at least have tried to spin the allegations a bit.

FERC is not known as a serial leaker, unlike some other regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over financial institutions.

One possibility is that the leak came from outside either JPMorgan or FERC—perhaps from another regulator with whom FERC shared its memo.

—By CNBC's John Carney. Follow him on Twitter @Carney.