‘Too big to jail?’ Warner wants to know what Attorney General meant
U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), members of the Senate Banking Committee, wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today asking him to clarify his “too big to jail” remarks, comments he made last week regarding enforcement actions on money laundering and terrorism financing activities based on the size of the culpable institution.
In a hearing on March 6th, Attorney General Holder stated, “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”
At a Banking Committee hearing the very next day, Sen. Warner questioned regulators from the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Treasury Department, and the Comptroller of the Currency about the Attorney General’s comments, and expressed deep concerns about the failure of regulators to effectively stop or punish big banks’ alleged illegal activities.
In today’s letter, Sens. Warner and Corker ask if it is “truly the position of the Department of Justice that some financial institutions are large enough that their management is above prosecution in the case of a serious crime?” They further note that “like many of our colleagues, we believe that criminal behavior at any institution ought to be prosecuted, and responsible parties held accountable.”