Why Is Liz Warren Yelling At Bank Regulators Today? (Video)
Liz Warren came to Washington to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and she is ALL OUT OF BUBBLEGUM. Would you like to watch her tear into regulators about wrongful foreclosures? Specifically: why no one knows exactly how many people were wrongfully foreclosed on, and also, why wrongfully foreclosed upon people may have gotten as little as $300 for their troubles? Of course you would, these kinds of videos are the highlight of our week too, let us all sit back and relax and bask in the glory of Liz Warren, kicking ass at the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, courtesy of ThinkProgress.
She starts out all angry-calm:
LIZ: Let me make sure I understand this completely. I want to know, on a bank-by-bank basis, the number of families that were illegally foreclosed on. Will you give me that information?
(Technically, banks can't do anything illegal, this is a trick question which is why it is so brilliant.)
HAPLESS REGULATOR: Eventually we were going to issue a statement to the public where we provide additional information to the public, but if we go through the processes I described previously, we can share it with Congress in its oversight capacity.
Fun fact: Congress has "oversight capacity" over the banks, learn something new every day!
LIZ: So you're saying you will make that information publicly available?
HAPLESS REGULATOR: I did not say that, I said that we are planning on issuing a public statement that wraps up the IFR.
LIZ: That's not what I'm asking for. What I'm asking for is a bank-by-bank analysis of how many families they illegally foreclosed upon. Will you give us that information?
HAPLESS REGULATOR: We will provide that information to Congress in its oversight capacity if we go through the normal processes that we are prepared to follow.
Another fun fact: it is "normal" to not brief the public on anything relating to their lives. Unless it would help the banks, of course, in which case we assume that it is totally normal to brief the public.
Otherwise, the "normal processes" include: 1. Starting an investigation. 2. Stopping said investigation when it becomes inconvenient. 3. Paying out a pittance to the public. 4. Briefing Congress on the nature of the pittance and 5. Issuing a tepid statement to the people.
We should have gone into politics, it sounds much easier than our lowly blogging job, where even we, mere typists in pajamas (ok fine, we wear frumpy trousers to "work," not pajamas*, but you get the idea) have SOME sort of accountability!
LIZ: Why are you not making that public? I just want to make sure I understand.
REGULATOR: I don't know that there has been a decision not to, I think we're still--
LIZ: Are you claiming that the information about illegal activity is privileged and confidential?
REGULATOR: It's all part of the--it's all confidential supervisory information but that doesn't mean that at some point we won't release some information; a decision just hasn't been made at this point.
LIZ: So you're saying when you find evidence of illegal activities by the banks--
LIZ: That might of illegally foreclosed on homeowners--
LIZ: That information is privileged and you will not release it without a letter from Congress?
REGULATOR: It is subject to privilege, we don't usually make that public. However, we do plan on making public issuance describing further analysis and further findings.
LIZ: On a bank-by-bank basis of illegal activity?
REGULATOR: I don't believe that has been determined yet.
LIZ: If someone believes they have been illegally foreclosed against, will they still have a right under this settlement to to bring a lawsuit?
OTHER REGULATOR, RICHARD ASHTON, DPTY GEN COUNSEL, FEDERAL RESERVE: Yes.
LIZ: Would it be helpful, if you’re going against one of these big banks, would it be helpful to these families to have the information about their case that’s in your files?
RICHARD ASHTON, DPTY GEN COUNSEL, FEDERAL RESERVE: It would be helpful, obviously, to have information related to the injury –
LIZ: So do you plan to give the families this information? That is, those families that have been victims of illegal foreclosures, will you be giving them the information that’s in your possession about how the banks illegally foreclosed against them?
RICHARD ASHTON, DPTY GEN COUNSEL, FEDERAL RESERVE: I think that’s a decision that we’re still considering making. We haven’t made a final decision yet.
LIZ: So you have made a decision to protect the banks, but not a decision to tell the families who were illegally foreclosed against?
Yes, OF COURSE THEY HAVE, because whatever would we do without the big banks? Is the economy made of "families"or "workers"? No, of course it is not, it is made of "banks," and we are so lucky to have at least two senators (Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders, if we're counting) who haven't yet realized that.
*Editrix's note: I am totally still in my pajamas.