Elizabeth Warren To FBI: I Can Think Of Some Other Investigations You Should Release

If the FBI is suddenly releasing information about investigations, Warren says, why not those investigations into the 2008 financial crisis?
Elizabeth Warren has some suggestions for what investigations the FBI should release next.
Elizabeth Warren has some suggestions for what investigations the FBI should release next.
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to know why the FBI will publish records related to an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, but not records related to the FBI’s investigation of bank executives during the 2008 financial crisis.

“The DOJ’s inability to obtain meaningful convictions or settlements in the vast majority of these [Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission] referrals ― let alone in any other cases involving senior Wall Street executives ― suggests that the Department failed to hold the individuals and companies most responsible for the financial crisis and the Great Recession accountable,” Warren wrote in her letter to the FBI on Thursday.

Warren noted that the FCIC referred 11 cases to the DOJ in which the commission found “serious indication of violation” of federal banking laws, implicating nine individuals in those violations. “Not one of these nine has gone to prison or been prosecuted for a criminal offense,” Warren said.

Those named by the FCIC include top executives of some of the largest banks in the country and some of the most politically connected men on Wall Street, including Robert Rubin, former Bill Clinton treasury secretary and Citigroup chairman.

Warren’s staff also found 14 corporations the FCIC referred to the DOJ that were never criminally prosecuted.

Warren said the FBI’s recent decision to release details of its Clinton probe gives the agency “clear precedent” for providing more information about the financial crisis ― noting that, typically, the FBI doesn’t release details of investigations when it doesn’t recommend prosecution.

But with FBI Director James Comey deciding to make previously undisclosed information available “in the interest of transparency,” Warren thinks these new standards should compel Comey to make the investigations into the FCIC referrals public, too.

“If Secretary Clinton’s email server was of sufficient ‘interest’ to establish a new FBI standard of transparency, then surely the criminal prosecutions of those responsible for the 2008 financial crisis should be subject to the same level of transparency,” she wrote.

Warren also wrote a similar letter to the DOJ inspector general asking the office to look into the DOJ investigations of the FCIC referrals.

Former FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides applauded Warren’s pressure, saying the failure to prosecute top executives has “rightly bred anger and cynicism about the fairness of our legal system.”

“It is in the vital public interest to know exactly what the DOJ did to follow up on and investigate on the matters and individuals referred to it by the FCIC,” Angelides said in a written statement Thursday. “How is it possible that banks engaged in such massive misconduct, but no banker was involved? Is it possible we have witnessed an immaculate corruption? It defies common sense.”

You can read the letter to the DOJ here, and the one to the FBI here.

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