Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a report in January called “Rigged Justice 2016” which outlines 7 key sectors where large corporations have committed major crimes and got away with just a slap on the wrist fine to date. In the Financial Crimes and Offenses section she summarizes 6 examples of cases involving Wall Street finance firms. You can read it here.
Then last week Warren wrote a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, pointing out that Wall Street’s top cop (the SEC) has failed its “core mission to ‘protect investors’” by allowing Steven A. Cohen back into the hedge fund business just months after the billionaire settled with the agency as part of an investigation into insider trading. See: Senator Warren slams Wall Street’s top cop.
“This decision raises serious concerns about the SEC’s ability to protect investors, to uphold the integrity of financial markets from corrupt, illegal investment management practices, and to impose meaningful accountability on wrongdoers,” according to Warren.
In the “Rigged Justice 2016” report Warren summarizes this key source driving inequality and undermining democracy in America as follows:
“The failure to punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country: If justice means a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but it means nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars, then the promise of equal justice under the law has turned into a lie. The failure to prosecute big, visible crimes has a corrosive effect on the fabric of democracy and our shared belief that we are all equal in the eyes of the law”.
This requires a complete overhaul of the regulator’s financing (See In Bed with Wall Street) and leadership.