Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has formally requested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate why President Barack Obama's administration has declined to pursue criminal charges against Wall Street individuals responsible for the 2008 crash and the ensuing recession.
Warren has also penned a letter to FBI Director James Comey requesting that his bureau release the notes of their investigation into the 2008 crash.
On Sept. 15, Warren sent a letter to Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz of the DOJ requesting that he open an inquiry into why none of the corporations and individuals responsible for the Wall Street crash were prosecuted.
Warren noted that the government-formed investigatory body Financial Crisis Inquiry (FCIC) had recommended 25 separate cases of potential prosecutions to the DOJ in 2011, but that none of those referrals were acted on, the International Business Times reports.
“The Department has failed to hold the individuals and companies … accountable,” Warren wrote. “This failure requires an explanation.”
Warren revealed that her own staff had combed through the FCIC findings and found that the DOJ was given the materials to pursue: fraud in loan underwriting against UBS; accounting fraud against Fannie Mae; mortgage fraud against Citigroup; and securities fraud against Goldman Sachs.
The Massachusetts senator also noted that the FCIC had recommended the prosecution of 9 individuals. “Not a single one has even been indicted or brought to trial,” she said.
While the DOJ has fined the corporations responsible for the 2008 crash more than $40 billion, none of the executives involved have faced any jail time.
In her letter to FBI Director Comey, Warren demanded that the investigative bureau make its notes on individuals related to the 2008 crash public.
Warren noted that Comey had broken a longstanding precedent by releasing all of the documents related to the FBI investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server as Secretary of State, MSNBC reports.
In her letter, Warren asserted that if the FBI could break precedent in Clinton’s case for the good of public interest, then the details of the 2008 crash also merited full transparency.
The statute of limitations for individuals responsible for the 2008 crash will run out after a decade. Warren’s latest push is an effort to bring potential charges against the culprits behind the crash before they become legally immune.
Lawyer Jeff Hauser of the Center for Economic & Policy Research told Bloomberg Politics that Warren is attempting to make an example of the individuals and corporations related to the crash in order to discourage future fraud.
“She understands that CEOs don’t pay fines, shareholders do, and if they know prison is not an option, they’ll have a strong incentive to gamble by breaking the rules,” Hauser said.
Former FCIC chairman Phil Angelides praised Warren’s latest efforts.
“This is in the public interest,” Angelides said. “We need to see if there was a fair investigation into what was happening on Wall Street.”