New York Daily News editorial board interviewed Clinton, Kasich, and Sanders. Interesting questions but different responses in regarding to Wall Street reform and why there are no prosecutions from DOJ to bank execs. Kasich, who was interviewed on 4/7/16 was not asked any questions on Wall Street. Here is the link to Kasich’s interview:
TRANSCRIPT: JOHN KASICH MEETS WITH NEWS EDITORIAL BOARD
Here is snippet from Sanders’ interview on April 1:
Daily News: Okay. Staying with Wall Street, you’ve pointed out, that “not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy.” Why was that? Why did that happen? Why was there no prosecution?
Sanders: I would suspect that the answer that some would give you is that while what they did was horrific, and greedy and had a huge impact on our economy, that some suggest that…that those activities were not illegal. I disagree. And I think an aggressive attorney general would have found illegal activity.
Daily News: So do you think that President Obama’s Justice Department essentially was either in the tank or not as…
Sanders: No, I wouldn’t say they were in the tank. I’m saying, a Sanders administration would have a much more aggressive attorney general looking at all of the legal implications. All I can tell you is that if you have Goldman Sachs paying a settlement fee of $5 billion, other banks paying a larger fee, I think most Americans think, “Well, why do they pay $5 billion?” Not because they’re heck of a nice guys who want to pay $5 billion. Something was wrong there. And if something was wrong, I think they were illegal activities.
Daily News: Okay. But do you have a sense that there is a particular statute or statutes that a prosecutor could have or should have invoked to bring indictments?
Sanders: I suspect that there are. Yes.
Daily News: You believe that? But do you know?
Sanders: I believe that that is the case. Do I have them in front of me, now, legal statutes? No, I don’t. But if I would…yeah, that’s what I believe, yes. When a company pays a $5 billion fine for doing something that’s illegal, yeah, I think we can bring charges against the executives.
Daily News: I’m only pressing because you’ve made it such a central part of your campaign. And I wanted to know what the mechanism would be to accomplish it.
Sanders: Let me be very clear about this. Alright? Let me repeat what I have said. Maybe you’ve got a quote there. I do believe that, to a significant degree, the business model of Wall Street is fraud.
And you asked me, you started this discussion off appropriately enough about when I talk about morality. When I talk about it, that’s what I think. I think when you have the most powerful financial institutions in this country, whose assets are equivalent to 58% of the GDP of this country, who day after day engage in fraudulent activity, that sets a tone.
That sets a tone for some 10-year-old kid in this country who says, “Look, these people are getting away from it. They’re lying. They’re cheating. Why can’t I do that?”
Daily News: What kind of fraudulent activity are you referring to when you say that?
Sanders: What kind of fraudulent activity? Fraudulent activity that brought this country into the worst economic decline in its history by selling packages of fraudulent, fraudulent, worthless subprime mortgages. How’s that for a start?
Selling products to people who you knew could not repay them. Lying to people without allowing them to know that in a year, their interest rates would be off the charts. They would not repay that. Bundling these things. Putting them into packages with good mortgages. That’s fraudulent activity.
Sanders’ could have used the advice of William K. Black, now his economic advisor, to answer those questions on why there is no prosecution from DOJ to Wall Street bank execs. Better yet, why two DOJ heads (Holder and Lynch) under the Obama Administration can’t prosecute one big bank execs (even though Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs recent settlements with the DOJ did admit their wrongdoings but was never charged criminally) and continue to use deferred non-prosecution agreements and settlements. Yes, stature of limitations to the securitization mortgages is one of the key problems.
And here is a snippet of Clinton’s interview on April 9:
Daily News: How do you stop too big to fail? What needs to happen?
Clinton: Well, I have been a strong supporter of Dodd-Frank because it is the most consequential financial reforms since the Great Depression. And I have said many times in debates and in other settings, there is authority in Dodd-Frank to break up banks that pose a grave threat to financial stability.
There are two approaches. There’s Section 121, Section 165, and both of them can be used by regulators to either require a bank to sell off businesses, lines of businesses or assets, because of the finding that is made by two-thirds of the financial regulators that the institution poses a grave threat, or if the Fed and the FDIC conclude that the institutions’ living will resolution is inadequate and is not going to get any better, there can also be requirements that they do so.
So we’ve got that structure. Now a lot of people have argued that there need to be some tweaks to it that I would be certainly open to. But my point from the very beginning of this campaign, and it’s something that I’ve said repeatedly: big banks did not cause the Great Recession primarily. They were complicit, but hedge funds; Lehman Brothers, an investment bank; a big insurance company, AIG; mortgage companies like Countrywide, Fannie and Freddie — there were lots of culprits who were contributing to the circumstances that led to the very dangerous financial crisis.
Daily News: Should some of those culprits have been prosecuted, and in prison, successfully? Does that rankle you?
Clinton: Well, it rankles me that I don’t believe we had sufficient laws, sufficient prosecutorial resources to really go after what could have been not just dangerous, unethical behavior but perhaps illegal behavior. I’ve talked with some of the people responsible for trying to determine whether there could be cases brought. And they were totally outresourced.
We haven’t adequately resourced the regulators — SEC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, FDIC — and we have not sufficiently resourced the Justice Department and U.S. attorneys to have the expertise and the ability to go after anything they sought.
Daily News: There’s two slightly different questions. One is, was it a problem of law or was it a problem of prosecutors not being sufficiently resourced?
Clinton: The prosecutors tell me it was the problem of the law. Other analysts, as you well know, have said that there could have been more vigorous efforts that might have led to prosecutions. Now there were cases brought in some of the mortgage companies. There’s also a problem with the statute of limitations, because these are difficult cases to bring. They take a long time. I think we should certainly extend the statute of limitations.
So I’m not going to second-judge people who I believe were acting in good faith, because I think they were — U.S. attorneys, Department of Justice prosecutors. But they concluded that they could not make cases. So I think we have to have a very robust analysis of what were the real reasons they couldn’t make cases. Are the laws insufficient? Therefore how do we try to make them tougher as a deterrent and make it clear to people in the financial services industry that there’s a new sheriff in town so that there will be additional legal requirements and we will resource better.
So I think we have to take a hard look at this, and I believe we can do that.
A question that was not asked to Sanders and Clinton that should have been asked is how is Sanders and Clinton going to make sure the Volcker Rule goes into effect for the banks if either one is President. The Volcker rule has been extended to 2017 thanks to Congress, the banks ,and the bank lobbyists pushing back the law into going in effect.