Apparently, we were wrong last March, when we interpreted Attorney General Eric Holder's Congressional testimony to mean that the big banks were just "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. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large," Holder testified at the time.
"It has an inhibiting influence --- impact --- on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate," he continued. "So, the concern that you raise is actually one that I share."
That's what he said in March. But apparently, despite that, he now says, banks are not too big to jail. That's what Holder "very, very, very" much wants us now to believe, according to his testimony in Congress today...
In March, Holder had told the Senate Judiciary Committee, "I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them." This comment has been interpreted to justify the findings of a PBS Frontline investigation that found that Holder and his department have resisted taking banks to court based on a fear of shocking financial markets.
Responding to a question from Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) about his comment from March, Holder conceded again on Wednesday that such prosecutions may be too difficult, but stressed that "there’s no bank, there’s no institution, there’s no individual that cannot be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice."
"Let me be very, very, very clear… banks are not too big to jail," Holder added.
He then went on to --- immediately --- not jail any of them during the four years that he's been in office. As Sattler observes: "The DOJ has not brought any criminal charges against the big banks since the financial crisis of 2008 forced taxpayers to bail them out."
Sattler also cites the letter sent by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to the DoJ, SEC and Federal Reserve on Tuesday, in which she accurately charges: "If large financial institutions can break the law and accumulate millions in profits, and if they get caught, settle by paying out of those profits, they do not have much incentive to follow the law."
But, never fear! Sattler also notes...
"Anybody who has broken the law will be held accountable," Holder said.
As long as they're not bankers. Or Republicans.