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Elizabeth Warren Embarrasses Bank Regulators At Her First Hearing

5:23 am - 02/15/2013


WASHINGTON -- Bank regulators got a sense Thursday of how their lives will be slightly different now that Elizabeth Warren sits on a Senate committee overseeing their agencies.

At her first Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, Warren questioned top regulators from the alphabet soup that is the nation's financial regulatory structure: the FDIC, SEC, OCC, CFPB, CFTC, Fed and Treasury.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts had a straightforward question for them: When was the last time you took a Wall Street bank to trial? It was a harder question than it seemed.

"We do not have to bring people to trial," Thomas Curry, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, assured Warren, declaring that his agency had secured a large number of "consent orders," or settlements.

"I appreciate that you say you don't have to bring them to trial. My question is, when did you bring them to trial?" she responded.

"We have not had to do it as a practical matter to achieve our supervisory goals," Curry offered.

Warren turned to Elisse Walter, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who said that the agency weighs how much it can extract from a bank without taking it to court against the cost of going to trial.

"I appreciate that. That's what everybody does," said Warren, a former Harvard law professor. "Can you identify the last time when you took the Wall Street banks to trial?"

"I will have to get back to you with specific information," Walter said as the audience tittered.

"There are district attorneys and United States attorneys out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it. I'm really concerned that 'too big to fail' has become 'too big for trial,'" Warren said.

A Warren constituent, open-Internet activist Aaron Swartz, recently committed suicide after being hounded by federal prosecutors who reportedly said they wanted to "make an example" of him. Warren had met and said she admired Swartz and, after he died, expressed her concern by attending his memorial in Washington.

The financial regulators can blame, at least in part, Wall Street lobbyists (along with outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Senate Republicans) for their embarrassing turn at the hearing. Warren would have been on the panel herself representing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, instead of a sitting senator, if her nomination to head the agency hadn't been thwarted in 2011.

Video of the smackdown at the source.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/14/elizabeth-warren-bank-regulators_n_2688998.html
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tabaqui 15th-Feb-2013 11:41 am (UTC)
HA. She rocks.
callmetothejedi 15th-Feb-2013 12:03 pm (UTC)
Liz Warren rocks.
hinoema 15th-Feb-2013 12:40 pm (UTC)
Never mind Hillary for President, I want this one.
glamoursnipe 15th-Feb-2013 01:05 pm (UTC)
R'amen to that, dude. MTE.
door 15th-Feb-2013 01:00 pm (UTC)
EXCELLENT.
alicephilippa 15th-Feb-2013 01:38 pm (UTC)
Sweet.
eyetosky 15th-Feb-2013 02:49 pm (UTC)
For a sec I thought you were using the deep south inflection of that phrase and just about rolled up my sleeves to reply before I remembered some people actually mean that.
korppi_ravn 15th-Feb-2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
who is this magnificent human being
clevermanka 15th-Feb-2013 02:23 pm (UTC)


FUCK

YEAH
hinoema 15th-Feb-2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
UNCONTROLLABLY EXCITED YEAH
bnmc2005 15th-Feb-2013 02:34 pm (UTC)
The financial regulators can blame, at least in part, Wall Street lobbyists (along with outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Senate Republicans) for their embarrassing turn at the hearing. Warren would have been on the panel herself representing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, instead of a sitting senator, if her nomination to head the agency hadn't been thwarted in 2011.



BBBBWwwwwwwwhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
browneyedguuurl 15th-Feb-2013 02:42 pm (UTC)
You go Elizabeth bb!

oceandezignz 15th-Feb-2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
This song and comment gives me life. <3 Perfection.
eyetosky 15th-Feb-2013 02:50 pm (UTC)
♪ ♫ Did you ever know that you're my heeeeeeeeeeee-rooooooooooooh... ♪ ♫
kitanabychoice 15th-Feb-2013 02:52 pm (UTC)
Ain't no escape now! *g*
darlahood 15th-Feb-2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
Hillary for Pres and warren for VP!!
azure_rhymes 15th-Feb-2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
ohhhh i've got stars in my eyes thinking about that
cinnamontoast 15th-Feb-2013 03:10 pm (UTC)
So much love. Now I wait for them to "get back to her on this".
akycha 15th-Feb-2013 03:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, WOW. She rocks.
louisiane_fille 15th-Feb-2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
Kick ass and take names, Liz!
romp 15th-Feb-2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
lovelovelove this!
crossfire 15th-Feb-2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
We should have a "fierce" tag.
shortsweetcynic 15th-Feb-2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
^ cosigned.
executivehpfan 15th-Feb-2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
This woman is so fucking flawfree I can't even handle it. Future Madame President.
azure_rhymes 15th-Feb-2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
i'm so fucking proud that i voted for her. i feel so lucky that i live in massachusetts and had the opportunity to do so.

wow, i love my state so much.
wrestlingdog 15th-Feb-2013 09:17 pm (UTC)
Same here. I moved up here for grad school and I was so excited when it occurred to me I could vote up here.
kyra_neko_rei 15th-Feb-2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
I'm really concerned that 'too big to fail' has become 'too big for trial,'" Warren said.

Well, given that their excuse is that "the agency weighs how much it can extract from a bank without taking it to court against the cost of going to trial," being the kind of megapowerhouse which can summon up a massive legal defense team will make it more and more expensive to try them, so being big makes them harder to "justify" trying.

Personally, I think this constitutes effective extortion to leave them alone. "You don't try to make 'examples' of us, we don't cost you the expense of a trial," and they're big enough to make that significant.
skellington1 15th-Feb-2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
I think if the agencies are only looking at how much money they can extract, they're only looking at part of the picture, and as regulators having such a limited view does a disservice to the country. The other parts of the picture are the opportunities to make 'examples' -- public trials are far more enlightening to the public, and potentially far more damaging to a bank's brand, than settlements -- and case law, which is the thing I think the regulators are really idiotic for not considering. There are all sorts of borderline issues in US law that aren't resolved until a case goes to trial. If you really want to stop people abusing those borderline cases, you need to have a (successful) trial, because a great deal of our law is based on case precedent.

Doing it all in out-of-court settlement may actually be the best in the near-term financial sense, but it's not the best in the sense of fairness and justice, or the sense of having a leg to stand on further down the road.
skellington1 15th-Feb-2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
The headline was enough to give me warm fuzzy feels.
furrygreen 15th-Feb-2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
Fuck, I love her!
otana 15th-Feb-2013 07:05 pm (UTC)
This story warmed the cockles of my cold, dead heart.
soliano 15th-Feb-2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
As they say, Karma is a . . . Senator!
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