In remarks on Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized the failure of both federal regulators and Justice Department officials to prosecute or otherwise hold to account Wall Street banks and financial institutions despite their long and steady pattern of “blatantly criminal activity.”
Speaking at conference hosted by the Levy Economics Institute, Sen. Warren was firm in her denunciation of regulators—including those at the Security and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve—for not using the tools already available to them and for largely failing to meet their oversight obligations.
“The SEC needs to get its act together,” Warren told the attendees. “In all sorts of ways and on all sorts of issues.”
She also had stern words for the DOJ, which she says has repeatedly failed to use criminal statutes at its disposal. “The Department of Justice doesn’t take big financial institutions to trial ever—even when financial institutions engage in blatantly criminal activity,” said Warren, according to a copy of her prepared remarks.
Additionally, Warren castigated those who argue that such strong regulations are somehow anti-business or anti-market.
In an interview with the Huffington Post‘s Zach Carter subsequent to her public remarks, Warren explained: “The opponents of financial reform have cast the debate as rules vs. markets, that somehow anyone who believes in rules is anti-market. Rules are not the enemy of markets. They protect markets from blowing up. The real fight isn’t between markets and rules. And it never has been. It’s between competitive capitalism and crony capitalism.”
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