Elizabeth Warren Hammers the Endless Failures of Wall Street Regulators
WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) assailed the nation’s top bank regulators on Wednesday for coddling Wall Street offenders and ducking the responsibilities Congress assigned them in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown.
At a conference hosted by the Levy Economics Institute, Warren called not only for structural change to the banking system but for a revamping of the weak enforcement culture at the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, according to a transcript of her prepared remarks. Although Warren did not cite any officials by name, the regulatory failures she highlighted reflect poorly on a host of key policymakers, including U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, nominated to be the next attorney general; Fed General Counsel Scott Alvarez; and SEC Chair Mary Jo White.
“The Department of Justice doesn’t take big financial institutions to trial ever — even when financial institutions engage in blatantly criminal activity,” Warren said. She accused DOJ of turning deferred prosecution agreements, designed for low-level offenders, into “get-out-of-jail-free cards for the biggest corporations in the world.”
“The SEC is even worse,” Warren said, noting that the agency has repeatedly granted significant regulatory perks to companies that it has charged with civil securities fraud. The senator also criticized the SEC for slow-walking CEO pay regulations required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law and for protecting the secrecy of corporate political contributions.