Progressives are celebrating Elizabeth Warren's first high-profile outing as a member of the Senate Banking Committee, during which she embarrassed bank regulators by repeating one simple question:
"Can you identify the last time when you took the Wall Street banks to trial?"
The bank regulators were not able to answer. The first to respond was visibly nervous. Then when Warren asked the question again, another regulator said that, "we have not had to do it as a practical matter to achieve our supervisory goals." Warren then turned to Elisse Walter, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and asked the question a third time. "I will have to get back to you with specific information," said Walter as the audience laughed.
Warren pointed to the unfairness of ordinary Americans facing prosecutions for minor crimes when Wall Street bankers avoid it. "There are district attorneys and United States attorneys out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it, Warren said. "I'm really concerned that 'too big to fail' has become 'too big for trial."