Senators: There shouldn’t be a separate set of rules for Wall Street and Main Street
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and 12 other Senators in urging the Justice Department to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute individual wrongdoing at Wells Fargo after revelations that the bank’s employees had opened millions of accounts without customer approval.
The Senators wrote:
“A bank teller that takes a handful of bills from the cash drawer is likely to face charges for theft and prison time. She can’t hide behind an army of lawyers and corporate policies that diffuse accountability for those at the top. Meanwhile, an executive who oversees a massive fraud that implicates thousands of bank employees and costs customers millions of dollars can walk away with a hefty retirement package and millions in the bank.
“Every time the Department of Justice settles a case of corporate fraud without holding individuals accountable, it reinforces the notion that the wealthy and powerful have purchased a higher class of justice for themselves.”
In September, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued its largest penalty to date of over $100 million to the bank as a result of this multi-year, multi-state fraud. The Senators urged Attorney General Loretta Lynch not only to hold Wells Fargo accountable as a corporation, but also prosecute individual executives who may have broken the law.
The letter was also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
A copy of the letter the Senators sent is available here.