Here in Washington, I hear a lot of talk. People will say just about anything and claim it’s the truth, no matter what the record shows. Well, I’m from the Show-Me State, where actions speak louder than words.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently said that there is no such thing as too-big-to-jail. In a video address, Holder said no individual or company, no matter how large or profitable, is above the law.
In isolation, Holder’s words—that the 2,500-year-old principle of equality under the law still exists in the United States of America—are somewhat comforting. But context is key, and Holder’s remarks simply do not mesh with reality.
For one, Holder’s statement directly contradicts congressional testimony he gave last year. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder said that law-enforcement officials have hesitated to pursue financial wrongdoing at the largest banks because of the potential economic impact. So he should at least get his stories straight.
Further, there are no results to back up Holder’s current claims. No high-level executives have been prosecuted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. When it comes to Wall Street, the Justice Department simply has no record to run on.
Finally, the current dust-up at Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas isn’t going to quell concerns about the aftermath of the crisis. As Politico reporter Ben White recently noted, “a pair of pleas from foreign owned banks is hardly going to reverse the fact that U.S. prosecutors completely failed to make any significant criminal cases against top executives or institutions in the wake of the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Here’s another quote, this one from former Rep. Willard Duncan Vandiver: “I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”
If federal prosecutors want us to believe that they are not shy about taking on Wall Street for its role in the financial crisis that still haunts us to this day, then they should prove it. Because all I’m hearing is just more talk.