Senator Warren Puts Bank Regulators on Hot Seat

by Linda Beale

Senator Warren Puts Bank Regulators on Hot Seat

Elizabeth Warren started out her questioning of big bank regulators by noting that actual trials, where guilty parties are paraded before juries, information about their wrongdoing is spread over front pages, and everybody is aware that bad guys get punished for their bad deeds has an effect on whether the wrongdoing is committed in the first place. In the case of the big Wall Street banks, however, she notes that they made out like bandits during the speculative orgy that caused the financial system crisis, and yet not a one has paid by being taken to trial in this expressive way.

“Tell me,” she says to a group of bank regulators called before her Senate committee, “about the last few times you’ve taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street to trial. Anybody?”

The FCC representative, Tom Curry, notes that ordinarily they are just trying to move things along and correct deficiencies. Warren interrupts and notes–“yes, and you set a price for that… that’s effectively a settlement. What I’m asking is … when did you last take a financial institution, a Wall Street Bank, to trial? ” Curry “We’ve had a fair number of consent orders. We don’t have to bring them to trial.” Warren “I understand that you say you don’t “have” to but my question is when is the last time that you did?” (No further responsive answer).

(Dan here…a clip of her at the committee meeting is below the fold)

The same kind of interchange–can you identify when you last took Wall Street Banks to trial –was similarly nonresponded to by Elisse Walter. Nobody else even offered to comment. Certainly nobody offered a single date for “last time a Wall Street bank was taken to trial.”

Warren closed with a comment that made clear that she thought that a very different standard was being applied to Wall Street than is applied to ordinary citizens that commit even minor infractions. She noted that there are District Attorneys every day squeezing ordinary citizens on rather small matters and taking them to trial explicitly to set an example, but “For Wall Street banks, ‘too big to fail‘ has become ‘too big to try [take to trial]’. That just seems wrong to me.”

You go, Elizabeth. Without using the words “class warfare”, she has made absolutely crystal clear the class warfare problem that exists in our country today, where Wall Street institutions and their chiefs and chief owners get all kinds of protections while the little guy is shaken down for peanuts. As a commenter on the site already noted, if only there were 99 more like her in the Senate…..

cross posted with ataxingmatter

(Dan here…via Business Insider comes this clip about Senator Warren’s questioning at the hearing)