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Forum Post: Elizabeth Warren writing for Politico: Where Is Wall Street Accountability?

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 8, 2011, 5:50 p.m. EST by looseIyhuman (38)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The law applies to everyone. Wall Street protesters should be held accountable if they engage in illegal activity - and so should Wall Street banks. There is no excuse for protesters to violate public safety laws - and no excuse for powerful financial institutions to defraud their customers or investors.

Yet for all the talk about accountability, there has been little action when it comes to holding large financial institutions accountable for breaking the law.

Look at the latest foreclosure fraud scandals. For more than a year, one story after another has come to light exposing how some of America's largest financial institutions broke the law. In some cases, their blatantly illegal behavior in the foreclosure process pushed families out of their homes. In some others, families gave up and moved away under the threat of foreclosure.

The revelations about robosigning - in which mortgage servicers falsified legal documents to foreclose on homes faster and more cheaply - were followed by stories about illegal home foreclosures against military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, cases of mistaken-identity foreclosures, cases of foreclosures caused by bad record keeping and on and on.

Credit unions and most small banks followed the law. But the biggest mortgage lenders and servicers swamped the system with bad practices.

As stories of illegal behavior in Massachusetts and across the country tumbled out, Wall Street plotted its strategy. Instead of owning up, huge financial services companies took a different approach: They set new spending records hiring an army of lobbyists to shift attention away from their wrongdoing.

The big banks and their allies followed a now-familiar game plan: Launch an offensive against anyone trying to enforce the law with rigor; work overtime to block serious investigation of illegal activity; and persuade the government to accept a slap-on-the-wrist settlement to absolve their violations of the law.

But there has been some pushback recently. On Nov. 28, a federal judge rejected a government settlement with Citibank over accusations that it misled investors in the run-up to the financial crisis. Why? The judge said there hadn't been enough investigation.

Just last week, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a lawsuit against the five largest mortgage servicers, bringing to a halt here in Massachusetts the stalling tactics that banks have used for more than a year as they dodged responsibility for foreclosure practices.

Does this mean the tide is turning toward real accountability - a full and fair investigation of the biggest financial institutions? A test case now lies before Congress.

New laws were put in place more than a year ago to provide some accountability over Wall Street. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created with the power to help consumers get the clear, useful information they need to make the best decisions on their financial futures. By enforcing some basic rules, the agency can help level the playing field between families and the giant Wall Street banks that sell credit cards, mortgages and other financial products.

But to have its full powers to insist on real accountability, the agency must have a director. And here's where a showdown is coming.

Last summer, President Barack Obama nominated Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general, to the post. But Wall Street's friends in Congress seized on a blocking maneuver: Forty-four Republican senators promised to stop any vote on a new director to thwart the new agency.

In other words, those who broke our economic system with crazy, dangerous mortgages aren't subject to full scrutiny because their allies in Congress are blocking Cordray's nomination.

With all the clout that Wall Street and its lobbyists have, real accountability won't be easy. But the first steps are pretty obvious.

First, confirm Cordray, and allow the consumer finance bureau to do its job. Efforts to weaken the agency before it can call a single Wall Street firm to account are shameful.

Second, demand that our state attorneys general and federal enforcement officials do more - not less - to push back against the big banks and their lobbyists and to investigate those whose illegal actions have broken the economy. And when evidence warrants, bring public prosecutions.

Third, stop the late-night budget tricks and other maneuvers designed to weaken agencies that enforce the laws. Put real cops on the financial beat in the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, cops with the resources they need to patrol for fraud and sustain tough prosecutions.

It has been more than three years since the greatest financial crisis in three generations. It is past time that we stop talking about accountability and start demanding it from those who broke the system.

Fighting for the middle class means more than talk. It means across-the-board, consistent accountability for anyone who breaks the law - no matter where they work or who their friends are.



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[-] 5 points by ineptcongress (648) 10 years ago

I've followed E. Warren for years. I vouch for her--she is the only person I know of, in all of government, who 1) truly has the nation's interest at heart and 2) has knowledge sophisticated enough to deal with the current mess (for example, she knows CFTC regs.); and 3) will act upon her beliefs undeterred by lobbyist scare tactics.

Check out how pissed she was on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show." That appearance is why I think, despite Obama's nomination, she was rejected for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau--she wants to slay the dragon.

[-] -3 points by mikePac (52) 10 years ago

E. Warren is now one of the Obummer admin sheep. now she is trash like them

[-] 2 points by randart (498) 10 years ago

I want her to be president or attorney general. She is one of the only people who speak the truth without mincing words. We need her in a position of power, at least for a while, because she has a good heart.

[-] 2 points by looseIyhuman (38) 10 years ago

Yep, she is the only one with guts enough to "welcome their hatred."

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

Get her elected to the Senate, and she could help in attracting more people of good caliber. She seems to be a true leader, by which I mean that she appears to recruit other people who are strong, dedicated, and bright. The real leaders build, not just do themselves or bask in the spotlight.

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

Richard Cordray was blocked today by a Senate filibuster.

When the list of those who voted against cloture is available, we should target those incumbents for replacement by anyone less willing to be puppets of the 1%.

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 10 years ago

I agree.

[-] 1 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

Am bitterly disappointed that Cordray, and thus the Financial Consumer Protection Bureau, is has been blocked. Even many of those who voted against him admit that he's entirely qualified. They are looking for a way to cripple the protections this bureau will provide.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 10 years ago

Yep and it is incredible to watch and indefensible.

[-] 2 points by looseIyhuman (38) 10 years ago


[-] 3 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

Elizabeth Warren ahead, 49% to 42% in today's poll! That's worth celebrating.

[-] 2 points by looseIyhuman (38) 10 years ago

Have you seen the latest Rove attack ad? Truly disgusting.

[-] 3 points by demcapitalist (977) 10 years ago

It really is. first they let banks and insurance companies gamble with our bank deposits. Then they try to blame the Obama administration for bailouts. Now they want more even deregulation. Isn't the mess at MF Global enough of a clue that we can't keep going like this? now there's hard working farmers who can't buy what they need for the spring and some moron high roller CEO who "doesn't know where the money went" I sent Liz Warren a few bucks yesterday. We need more like her.

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

Was that the one blaming her for TARP, when in reality, she fought to have accountability? I just saw that one. Talk about twisting something into a lie!

[-] 3 points by looseIyhuman (38) 10 years ago

Yeah, she just said it in this interview:

She fights Wall St, they hate her, fund Karl Rove, who uses that money to attack her as being a friend of Wall St. :) <-- that's actually a sad frog; amphibians have a limited range of facial expressions.

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

:( My frog is more expressive than yours!

[-] 0 points by looseIyhuman (38) 10 years ago

Ok, fine, busted. Mine just had a botox treatment.

[-] 0 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

I can't top that....

[-] 0 points by looseIyhuman (38) 10 years ago

Haha, neither can I... ever. ;) <--botox wearing off

[-] 0 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

:I Too much botox.

[-] 0 points by looseIyhuman (38) 10 years ago


[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 10 years ago

Also, anyone who signed Grover Norquist's "no tax" pledge needs to go. I would love to be part of a campaign to get anyone who did either of those things OUT of office! These party-line politics are keeping Congress from getting anything done!

[-] 1 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

For all that she's a Harvard prof, she writes and talks straight English. I find it refreshing.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 10 years ago


[-] 0 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago


[-] 0 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

Go to the nancybuttons site and read all the buttons she has on politics. It will provide you some refreshing variety in your humor.

So I found myself tonight trying to describe botox frog......

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

My humor is stale? Aww...

I swear they stole this one from me (when I was mocking a libertarian): "Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country is doing to you."

I think I've seen most of these partly hidden under dangling teabags.

[-] 0 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

Maybe we should feed her some better ones. Even smiley frogs may apply.

[-] 1 points by qazxsw123 (238) 10 years ago

One more reason we need Elizabeth Warren and her Consumer Rights agency whose nominee is unable to get confirmed in Congress, as we speak. Too many federal agencies right now with too many different regulations for anyone to figure out where to turn when corporations act greedy.

"Missouri lawyer Gary Green, who is also readying a series of lawsuits against Santander, thinks that the bank many have just overlooked consumer law when it raced to expand its U.S. presence.

"I think that they've stumbled in without doing research," he said. "And they figured the claimants would act like most claimants and not realize they had any rights. They figured they could take advantage of these people thinking individually they would have no voice. And maybe they just didn't read the federal law."


[+] -5 points by danmi (66) 10 years ago

She is a socialist screwball

[-] 1 points by qazxsw123 (238) 10 years ago

does that make her incompetent when it comes to consumer fraud?

[-] 4 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

"Socialism" was the charge made against women in 1850 when they wanted the vote. It's now the charge against a woman who thinks that 300% annual interest is excessive, who thinks that people should be able to understand the fees and costs they're signing up for with a credit card company, and that banks who're given huge amounts of taxpayer money should be held accountable.

[-] 1 points by qazxsw123 (238) 10 years ago

Elizabeth Warren for Senate and then for (Vice) President! Russ Feingold for (Vice) President!

That would be my D.R.E.A.M. team!

[-] 3 points by demcapitalist (977) 10 years ago

I've been reading this book. "The Great Crash: 1929", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1955. The similarities between 1929 and 2008 are pretty stunning. Tons of crap wall street financial products created and sold,weird layered concoctions that leveraged risk ----------not unlike the CDO's that were supposed to limit risk when they ended up magnifying it. It has the same feeling as now that wall street became a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up all the money in the world ----------and then of course loosing it at the poker table.

[-] 0 points by qazxsw123 (238) 10 years ago

Have heard of this book; I like this public intellectual very much, was in the FDR administration, unfortunately repudiated in the Reagan years.

Went back to check his bio at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kenneth_Galbraith

a great American, strike that, Canadian!

[-] 1 points by demcapitalist (977) 10 years ago

I bet we will see some books soon that compare the 2 wall street bank caused depressions. The other good one on 1929 I read was "Once in Golconda" also great. Galbraith is more about the products and math of it all, Golconda deals with some of the crazy characters. Funny when I read that one 10 years ago it seemed like a charming history book -------now it seems more like a text book on how to ruin an economy.

[-] 0 points by qazxsw123 (238) 10 years ago

I had never heard of this book; it's now on my list of books to read. Since I won't do Xmas this year, I'm hoping my local library has it--or my Kindle. Thanks!


[-] 0 points by demcapitalist (977) 10 years ago

It's fun, full of classic examples of Warren Buffets " When the tide goes out you can see who's swimming naked" names, dates and how they ended up so naked.

[-] 0 points by qazxsw123 (238) 10 years ago

Reminds me of this recent story about this woman whose life was pure hardship (she happened to be the little girl in that movie classic, with Jimmy Stewart). Forgetting that the entertainment industry, well, their job, like church, politicians, etc., is first and foremost, to maintain the status quo.

For Zuzu of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ it wasn’t such a wonderful life afterward


[-] 0 points by demcapitalist (977) 10 years ago

Wow what a story. I raised a couple of kids whose mom died -----It's hard for them, let alone both parents and get stuck a new state with a couple of nuts. You've gotta admit it is a great movie ! Nice for her that she figured out she was in it eventually.

[-] 1 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Warren is on O'Donnell's show tonight at 7p/10p on msnbc.

[-] 1 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

That show is 10 pm and 1 am in Eastern Standard time areas.

Your time may vary based on the zone you're in.

[-] 1 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Right, sorry, I was including Pacific and Eastern times...

[-] 1 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 10 years ago

Anyway, thanks for the heads up on it. I set it to be recorded.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 10 years ago

Loved this post.

[+] -4 points by PublicCurrency (1387) 10 years ago

The private issuance and control of our currency by the Federal Reserve System is the root of the problem.

Nothing will change unless and untill we change this.