We love you, Elizabeth

Yesterday Sen. Elizabeth Warren took part in her first Senate Banking Committee hearing — and it was everything we could hope for. We’re surrounded by these Wall St. bullies, and here comes Sen. Warren to set things right:

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — In her first hearing as a U.S. senator Thursday, Elizabeth Warren criticized federal regulators for settling civil cases with Wall Street banks instead of taking them to trial.

“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,” she told bank regulators testifying at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. “I am really concerned that too-big-to-fail has become too-big-for-trial.”

It’s a double! Way to hit the ball, Madame Senator!

Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, has long been known as a stanch defender of consumers. She was a lone voice in the wilderness for the creation of an independent agency to write rules for mortgages and credit-card products. That agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is at the center of a firestorm of criticism from Republicans over its structure, funding and the appointment of its director. Before winning election as a senator, Warren oversaw a panel responsible for reviewing bank bailouts implemented to stem the financial crisis of 2008.

Warren acknowledged that trials are expensive but she insisted that if an agency is unwilling to go to trial it is because they are “too timid” or lack resources. She said that the consequence is that if large financial institutions can break the law and “drag in billions” in profits and settle, then they don’t have much incentive to follow the law.

“Every time there is a settlement and not a trial, it means we didn’t have the days and days and days of testimony about what those financial institutions were up to,” Warren said.

And she steals a base!

The Justice Department can take banks to trial on both criminal and civil charges, while bank regulators engage in civil enforcement actions, which can include trials. Bank regulators also can also make referrals to the Justice Department for criminal proceedings against banks or individuals.

Warren asked bank regulators how tough they are and raised the question about when was the last time any regulator took a Wall Street bank to trial.

“Anybody?” she asked. Warren’s comments received a smattering of applause.

Just a little dribbler, but it’s enough to get her on the scoreboard, and she has her first RBI in the big leagues. This woman has strong MVP potential.

Thomas Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks and thrifts, said the agency has not had to bring big banks to trial “as a practical matter” to achieve the regulator’s supervisory goals.

Curry added that the agency has had a fair number of consent orders “so we don’t have to bring people to a trial.” He said the primary motive of the agency’s enforcement actions is to identify the problem and demand a solution to it on an “on-going” basis.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Elisse Walter said that she believes the agency has a “very vigorous enforcement program” and that the commission looks at the distinction between what could be achieved in trial vs. what the SEC could obtain without a trial.

An SEC spokesman said the agency is “fully prepared” to go to trial every time the commission files a lawsuit. However, he added that there is “no reason” under the SEC’s authority to delay justice and relief for investors when the agency can “get it all without a trial.”

And since there’s no trial and we don’t know what they were up to, they can keep right on doing it.

9 Responses to We love you, Elizabeth

  1. Shadgirl February 15, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Elizabeth for President!

  2. Cos February 15, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    Today is the first day since Bush II was elected that I have any hope for this country. Go Elizabeth Warren!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Ron February 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    The public has to have her back. The Corporate Hounds of Hell are baying for her blood. Rethugs and ConservaDems should be very worried about her message going viral.

  4. Ron February 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Shall we start taking bets on when her first appearance on the Sunday talk shows will be? Hint: don’t hold your breath.

  5. tsisageya February 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Oh sure. Let’s take bets. Awesome. Super neat.

  6. tsisageya February 15, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    What you see is not what you get, you dumbass.

  7. Alek Hidell February 16, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    Grandstanding for the peanut gallery. The Senate can’t even pass a budget. You really think she’s going to get the SEC to do anything about banks? It’s all just posturing.

  8. Izquierdo February 16, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    Good on her.
    Now if only there were 70 Senate Dems, 170 H of R Dems, 10 Dem Cabinet Secretaries, and 200 Dems on the WH Staff with similar smarts and guts and principles, then we’d really have something.

  9. ProNewerDeal February 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    I feel as though to have any chance at a genuine Progressive like E Warren win the 2016 Pres race, we 99%er Progressives need to rally around E Warren now/already.

    The DC elite including BigMedia seem to be already coronating H Clinton aka Reagan Plutocrat Neo-liberal Jr aka Obama 2 aka Bush43 3. IMHO it will be very hard for a Progressive candidate like E Warren to challenge H Clinton. Massive grassroots support starting now would at least give E Warren some chance.

    Our nation needs a NewerDeal aka FD Roosevelt/LB Johnson (well without LBJ’s warmongering part) ASAP to start to address our nation’s genuine problems. It’s bad enough we’ll have to wait until at least Jan 2017; it will be extremely bleak if this date gets pushed back until Jan2021/indefinite/unlikely.

Site Meter