Obama Grade on Financial Sector Prosecution? Fail.
The falling number of fraud prosecutions is striking given what many claim is a strong pattern of financial-sector misconduct in recent years, culminating in a housing crisis characterized by alleged rampant mortgage fraud and improper foreclosure, as well as the weakening of the national and global economy.
The TRAC report, which compiles Justice Department data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, notes that 2011's relatively low number of financial fraud prosecutions is only the continuation of a trend spanning more than a decade.
Every year since 1999, the number of such prosecutions has gotten smaller and smaller, the report states. This means, for example, that there were more prosecutions in any given year during the presidency of George W. Bush than in any year during the presidency of Barack Obama.
Of course, it's not as if the Republicans have any interest in seeing these criminals brought to justice:
Congressional Republicans have made a number of attempts to weaken organizations like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This week, the CFTC's 2012 budget was slashed by about $100 million as a result of congressional pressure. Earlier this year, the House Appropriations Committee cut the 2012 budget request for the SEC by $222.5 million. (Ibid.)
"I wouldn't blame anyone who believes they're part of the 99 percent of Americans who has to follow the law, while 1 percent of the country doesn't," Connaughton said. "And a big part of the reason for that is lawyers and accountants are failing in their role as gatekeepers, and the Justice Department is too often deferring to these lawyers and accountants, which is like outsourcing the interpretation of the fraud laws." (Ibid.)
As Matt Taibbi pointed out last week, Holder has, "...no balls."
Again, though, Holder didn’t need to be creative in the Goldman case. Levin gift-wrapped the whole thing for him. He could have had a dozen easy convictions just on the evidence in that report, and if he had been creative, if he had used his vast power to roll up the guilty and flip them into more revelations, then he’d have had enough cases to last the AG’s office the next decade.
But the Holders of the world do not want to be creative when the targets are politically influential rich people. Instead, they use their creativity against Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, immigrant housekeepers, and guys who knock over liquor stores. They like to flex muscles against bank robbers, celebrity tax evaders (we can’t have Wesley Snipes on the loose!), truck hijackers, and drug dealers. As Gene Wilder would say, "You know – morons."
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