Warren to Regulators: Why Don't You Take More Banks to Court?

Senator makes a splash at first hearing; critics see grandstanding

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 15, 2013 5:54 PM CST

(Newser) – Elizabeth Warren has kept a low national profile in her first month on the job as a senator, but that changed yesterday at a hearing in which she grilled federal regulators of Wall Street, reports the Boston Globe and MassLive. In the exchange getting the most attention, Warren noted that civil cases against banks usually end with legal settlements, and asked, "When did you last take ... a large financial institution, a Wall Street bank, to trial?" When nobody spoke up immediately, she asked, "Anybody?" The answers that followed generally danced around the question, but it became clear that banks rarely get prosecuted.

"There are district attorneys and US attorneys who are 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," said Warren. (The Huffington Post notes that Internet activist Aaron Swartz was a Warren constituent before his suicide.) "I've very concerned that 'too big to fail' has become 'too big for trial' and that just seems wrong to me." Many on Wall Street are now accusing her of grandstanding at the hearing, notes a separate HuffPo article.

A file photo of Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
A file photo of Sen. Elizabeth Warren.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
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A YouTube clip of the hearing. Warren asks her key question about the 1:20 mark.   (YouTube)

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