Elizabeth Warren: Too Big to Fail has become Too Big for Trial

    This, my friends, is why we worked so damned hard to get Elizabeth Warren into the Senate, and on the Banking Committee.

    Shot this morning at a Banking Committee hearing titled “Wall Street Reform: Oversight of Financial Stability and Consumer and Investor Protections,” this video demonstrates, better than any campaign ad ever could, just why it was so critically important that we get Professor Warren into office. Just listen to the way she goes after these folks… And these, remember, are the good guys… Not bad for her first day on the Committee.

    If she’s this hard on regulators, just imagine how she’ll handle the bankers when they come before her.

    In the above video, for those of you who didn’t watch it, Warren bluntly asks Mary Miller, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Daniel Tarullo, Governor, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Martin Gruenberg, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Tom Curry, Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; Richard Cordray, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Elisse Walter, Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and Gary Gensler, Chairman, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, why it is that they’ve allowed the big banks to repeatedly buy their way out of trouble with relatively small settlements, instead of taking them to court, and having them answer for their actions, on the record, in front of the American people.

    Here’s a quote:

    “I want to note that 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 to ‘make an example,’ as they put it… I am really concerned that too-big-to-fail has become too-big-for-trial.”

    It’s really no wonder the financial industry tried so desperately to keep her from office.

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      12 Comments

      1. Edward
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        This is a Valentine gift to the people of the United States.

      2. Eel
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        swoon

      3. Meta
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        From the Boston Globe:

        After campaigning last year as an outspoken consumer advocate and Wall Street critic, Senator Elizabeth Warren was surprisingly quiet during her first month on Capitol Hill. But that changed on Thursday at the Massachusetts senior senator’s first hearing, when she rebuked federal regulators for settling civil cases with big banks instead of taking them to trial.

        Looking at the seven regulators arrayed before the Senate Banking Committee, and noting that she had often sat at the same witness table before becoming a senator, she used her new power to question why the federal government has not been more aggressive.

        “The question I really want to ask is about how tough you are — about how much leverage you really have,” Warren said. “Tell me a little bit about the last few times you’ve taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street all the way to trial.”

        A handful of supporters in the packed hearing room applauded. But none of the witnesses — representing the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and others — offered a response.

        “Anybody?” Warren asked, pursing her lips and raising her eyebrows above her glasses.

        Read more:
        http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2013/02/14/senator-elizabeth-warren-grills-regulators-ending-quiet-first-month-office/rEHdymDsEVcT5yW52LD93M/story.html

      4. Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Have you seen MattTaibbi’s latest piece in RS?

        http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/gangster-bankers-too-big-to-jail-20130214

      5. Knox
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        You can’t even begin to calculate how much it would cost to go up against the big banks in court. They have endless resources. And, the men at the top are incredibly insulated. Chances are, you’d only get the tiny fish. Still, though, it sounds like Warren is down for the challenge, which is encouraging. I’d love to see them hauled in front of a judge instead of just hearing how they’d agreed to pay a pittance when caught. There needs to be accountability. Bankers not only need to know that we’re watching, but they need to know that, when caught, there will be a price to pay.

      6. Mr. Y
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Now we just need to get Taibbi elected!

      7. Tammy
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Then he’d become as ineffective as the rest of your beloved Democrats at doing anything about anything (save for the wealthy).

      8. Watching Ypsi
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        Well when the characters of Elizebeth Warren played by Susan Rockefeller and Joe Manchin Played by Joe Thiesman are on the payroll to the wealthy, and do what they are told to do, what do you expect?

      9. Tammy
        Posted February 15, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        Watching Ypsi, are you off your lithium?

      10. anonymous
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        Watching Ypsi, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I hope you’re watching Ypsi from very, very far away.

      11. Elizabeth Warren
        Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        Hello –

        When is the last time the government took a big Wall Street bank all the way to trial for breaking the law?

        That’s what I asked some of the country’s top federal banking regulators at my first Banking Committee hearing this week.

        The question stumped the panel. There have been some landmark settlements over the past couple years, but the pattern in Washington has been to settle with the big banks and reach voluntary agreements rather than ever go all the way to trial.

        I think that’s wrong. The government’s unwillingness or inability to take the big banks all the way to trial reduces its leverage in settlement negotiations. It also means that what the big banks did wrong — the days and days of testimony about illegal mortgage foreclosures or collusion on interest rates — stay hidden from view.

        I’m going to keep asking hard questions. I’m going to keep fighting for across-the-board, consistent accountability — no matter how big the corporation or how politically connected it is.

        But I need your help.

        The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau we worked so hard to create is pushing back on big banks, but the Senate Republicans are blocking a vote on the nomination of my friend Richard Cordray to be its permanent Director. We need to demand that Rich Cordray gets an up-or-down vote.

        Why are the Senate Republicans blocking a vote on Rich Cordray? Just take a look at what the agency has done so far.

        The CFPB has already forced the credit card companies to return nearly half a billion dollars that they had cheated from consumers. The agency is helping students get better information about student loans and has a hotline to help consumers get back money when they have been cheated. And the agency has put out new rules on mortgages that will protect families and level the playing field between small financial institutions like community banks and credit unions and larger ones.

        In other words, the agency is starting to work.

        But for two years, Senate Republicans have held Richard Cordray hostage, saying they will block any vote on Director unless the Senate Democrats agree to weaken the agency and limit its ability to hold the big banks and credit card companies accountable.

        They don’t want to see strong enforcement of our laws, plain and simple.

        It took hundreds of thousands of people across the country fighting for an up-or-down vote to get a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — and now it’s going to take hundreds of thousands of people fighting to get Rich Cordray confirmed.

        This week, I joined Senators Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Sherrod Brown of Ohio to call for an up-or-down vote on Rich Cordray. I’m going to keep on fighting each and every day until he gets a vote.

        Will you help us keep fighting to level the playing field for working families? Sign my petition to demand an up-or-down vote for Rich Cordray now.

        Thank you for putting the wind in our sails to keep fighting. This is how we bring real change — we do it together.

        Elizabeth

        LINK:
        http://my.elizabethwarren.com/page/s/cordray

      12. Demetrius
        Posted August 20, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

        http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/sound-and-fury-in-bank-settlements-still-signifying-nothing

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