Signature needed: New attorney general must end “too big to jail”

CREDO action
Tell new Attorney General Loretta Lynch: End "too big to jail"

Petition to Attorney General Loretta Lynch:
"Begin your term as attorney general by announcing criminal charges for the fraud that led to the financial crisis, ending the abuse of deferred prosecution agreements without steep penalties, and committing to bring to trial any financial institutions caught breaking the law in the future."

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Dear 5849376,

Jail Wall Street Crooks

After a historic and partisan delay, the Senate recently confirmed Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general of the United States.1 Now, it's time for her to get to work.

In her confirmation hearings, she promised that "No individual is too big to jail… nobody is above the law."2

Now that Attorney General Lynch has won the job, we need to show that we're counting on her to follow through on that promise.

Tell new Attorney General Loretta Lynch: End "too big to jail." Click here to sign the petition.

Years after massive fraud by Wall Street nearly brought down our economy, not a single banker has landed in jail. Instead of pursuing criminal charges, the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Eric Holder routinely brought civil cases and settled out of court, often with no admission of guilt, paltry fines relative to profits, and little actual help for those affected.

In fact, as Senator Elizabeth Warren pointed out in a major recent speech, the Justice Department has developed a "slap on the wrist culture," offering big financial institutions "deferred prosecution" agreements no matter how blatant their crimes. In fact, even when the DOJ catches these firms breaking the law after signing a deferred prosecution deal, they still fail to bring them to trial. On top of it all, the fines these firms pay usually pale in comparison to the damage they have done.3

For years, the Obama administration's party line was that it lacked the smoking gun to prosecute big banks. But last fall, we learned that wasn't true when Rolling Stone magazine published a breathtaking account of a whistleblower who personally witnessed fraud at JPMorgan Chase and was willing to testify.4 If Attorney General Lynch wants to get off on the right foot at the Justice Department, she has no excuse not to prosecute JPMorgan Chase and announce an end to the absurd abuse of deferred prosecution agreements.

Tell new Attorney General Loretta Lynch: End "too big to jail." Click here to sign the petition.

There are worrying signs that Lynch could bring more business as usual. As U.S. attorney for Brooklyn, she crafted a deferred prosecution agreement for the banking giant HSBC, after it was caught yet again laundering money. HSBC paid a fine amounting to only about five weeks of profit for whitewashing cash for drug cartels and terrorist organizations. The Department of Justice made sure it kept its American banking charter. Not a single executive went to jail.

And just a few weeks ago, HSBC was caught helping wealthy individuals evade taxes, another violation of the law. According to some reports, the government actually knew about this tax criminality when it let HSBC off the hook for money laundering.5

Working Americans go to jail for their inability to pay speeding tickets, while big banks get off with a slap on the wrist. Attorney General Lynch needs to show that she has learned from her and Eric Holder's mistakes, and is prepared to go in a different direction – from day one.

Tell new Attorney General Loretta Lynch: End "too big to jail." Click below to sign the petition.

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/lynchconfirm?t=7&akid=14207.3291973.QldHER

It is long past time to put an end to the excuses, to bury the horrific notion of "too big to jail," and start putting actual criminals behind bars.

Thank you for fighting for accountability for banking wrong-doing,

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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  1. Jennifer Steinhauer, "Senate Confirms Loretta Lynch as Attorney General After Long Delay," New York Times, April 23, 2015.
  2. Gina Chon, "Loretta Lynch defends US president's immigration policy," Financial Times, January 28, 2015
  3. Senator Elizabeth Warren, "'The Unfinished Business of Financial Reform,' Remarks as Prepared for Delivery," Warren.Senate.gov/, April 15, 2015.
  4. Matt Taibbi, "The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare," RollingStone.com, November 6, 2014.
  5. Matt Taibbi, "Will HSBC Deal Come Back to Haunt Loretta Lynch?" RollingStone.com, February 9, 2015.

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