Holder Claims Big Banks are Too Big to Jail

Sunday, March 10, 2013
Eric Holder testifying before Senate Judiciary Committee March 6, 2013 (photo: Evan Vucci, AP)

Critics have wondered why the Obama administration has failed to criminally indict any leaders on Wall Street for causing the financial crisis several years ago.


This week, Attorney General Eric Holder offered a clear explanation for why the Department of Justice has been so soft on executives in the financial industry: Banks that are “too big to fail” are also “too big to jail.”


“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”


Holder’s rationale for giving banking titans a free pass did not sit well with Robert Borosage, founder and president of the Institute for America’s Future and co-director of its sister organization, the Campaign for America’s Future.


Borosage called Holder’s argument “indefensible,” adding:


“There is no reason a bank with billions of assets could not survive the indictment of its CEO or CFO.…Putting a few bankers in jail and holding them personally accountable for their frauds would do much to bring sobriety back to Wall Street.”


As Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said in response to HSBC’s fine for laundering drug cartel money, “If you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you go to jail. If you’re caught repeatedly, you can go to jail for life….If you launder nearly a billion dollars in drug money, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

It’s Official: Banks Too Big to Fail are Too Big to Jail (by Robert Borosage, Campaign for America’s Future)

AG Says Megabanks Too Big To Jail (by Aaron Elstein, Crain’s New York Business)

How Holder's Surprising 'Too Big to Jail' Admission Changes Debate (American Banker)

Justice Dept. Mistakes Slapping Wall Street Wrists for True Punishment for Fraud (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

HSBC Hit with Fine for Helping Drug Cartels and Dictators; Executives Too Big to Jail (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Justice Dept. Defends Not Prosecuting Corporate Leaders for White-Collar Crime (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


gil favor 9 years ago
Holder is a lot of things but passivity is not the reason he failed to act against bankster crime. He's both been paid off and threatened with death or a reasonable facsimile thereof, so he goes along. He's comfy with crime. Hey, what a great idea for a bumper sticker. "I'm comfy with crime". Holder set this nation back a long way and we may well never recover.
LawPro 11 years ago
Eric Holder, a bad cop, worst AG paid by big banks to protect their criminals!
michael 11 years ago
The standing joke is Holder has no balls. THE TRUTH is that he has no standing. That the Attorney General of the United States will not prosecute individuals because of the wealth of the banks they work for, or the wealth of the individuals themselves, means Holder himself should be prosecuted. After suitable hard time in State Prison, he can then be released to return to work for the big banks, shining the shoes of their CEO's prior to his government stint as their Apologist.
peter lee 11 years ago
Why Eric Holder protected big bank Criminals? Attorney General Eric Holder's admission that some banks are too big to prosecute, shocked whole nation, and caused unanimous criticism nationwide, including Republican and Democratic Senators. Why Eric Holder is concerned that the size of some of these institutions is so large that it will be difficult to prosecute? He says that it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. That is opposite! Big Banks’ financial fraud caused the largest recession in our history, as well as created the Global Financial Crisis. The Attorney General Eric Holder’s passivity allows continued Big Banks’ Criminal Behaviors to go unstemmed. This will result in an economic disaster of catastrophic proportions. Only quick and aggressive actions to punish and stop big bank’s criminal practices can protect our economy from further financials crisis. What is Eric Holder’s motivation and benefits to not prosecute those big banks? It sounds laudable but in fact is it?

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