That’s the question that we all have been asking since 2008…
LIKE A LOT OF other Americans, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to know why the Department of Justice hasn’t criminally prosecuted any of the major players responsible for the 2008 financial crisis.
On Thursday, Warren released two highly provocative letters demanding some explanations. One is to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, requesting a review of how federal law enforcement managed to whiff on all 11 substantive criminal referrals submitted by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), a panel set up to examine the causes of the 2008 meltdown.
The other is to FBI Director James Comey, asking him to release all FBI investigations and deliberations related to those referrals. The FBI typically doesn’t release investigative details about cases that the DOJ chooses not to pursue, but Warren pointed out that in releasing information about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in July, Comey had pretty much shattered that precedent and set a new one.
“You explained these actions by noting your view that ‘the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest,’” Warren wrote to Comey. “If Secretary Clinton’s email server was of sufficient ‘interest’ to establish a new FBI standard of transparency, then surely the criminal prosecution of those responsible for the 2008 financial crisis should be subject to the same level of transparency.”
In other words, if Comey can spend hours relating FBI decision-making about State Department emails, he can do the same for the activity that made millions jobless and homeless.
The FCIC’s criminal referrals, which were sent to the Justice Department in October 2010, have never been made public. But Warren’s staff reviewed thousands of other documents released in March by the National Archives, including hearings and testimony, witness interviews, internal deliberations, and memoranda, and found descriptions and records of them.
They detail potential violations of securities laws by 14 different financial institutions: most of America’s largest banks — Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual (now part of JPMorgan), and Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America) — along with foreign banking giants UBS, Credit Suisse, and Société Generale, auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers, credit rating agency Moody’s, insurance company AIG, and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.