We knew this Valentine’s Day hearing was going to be good when Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, opened by saying, “I want to ask a question about supervising big banks when they break the law.”
She continued, “Now, I know there have been some landmark settlements, but we face some very special issues with big financial institution.”
If they can break the law and drag in billions in profits, and then turn around and settle, paying out of those profits, they don’t have much incentive to follow the law.
She then asked Thomas Curry, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency,
“When was the last time you took a Wall Street bank to trial?”
“We do not have to bring people to trial,” answered Curry.
Sen. Warren went on, “I appreciate that you say you don’t have to bring them to trial. My question is, when did you bring them to trial?”
“We have not had to do it as a practical matter to achieve our supervisory goals,” Curry stated.
Warner then switched her attention to Elisse Walter, who is the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission and asked the question again,
Can you identify the last time when you took the Wall Street banks to trial?”
Walter, who said she believed they have a “very vigorous enforcement program” answered, “I will have to get back to you with specific information.”
You know, I just want to note on this, there are district attorneys and U.S. attorneys who are out there everyday squeezing ordinary citizens, on sometimes very thin grounds, and taking them to trial in order to ‘make an example,’ as they put it. I’m really concerned that ‘too big to fail’ has become ‘too big for trial.’ That just seems wrong to me.
We have always regarded liberal Elizabeth Warren very highly, but after that awesome display, we think our crush has turned into full-blown love! *SWOON*
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