Statement by Phil Angelides, Chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (2009-2011), on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Request for an Investigation of the Department of Justice’s Response to the FCIC Referrals of Potential Financial Law Breaking

Phil Angelides, who served as Chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), issued the following statement regarding today’s request by Senator Elizabeth Warren that the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General investigate how the DOJ responded to the referrals made by the FCIC to the DOJ of potential violations of law at major financial institutions and by executives at those firms and that the FBI release all materials related to the FBI’s investigations and prosecutorial decisions regarding these referrals:

“I applaud Senator Warren for her action today calling on the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General to conduct a thorough review of the Department of Justice’s response to the referrals made by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission of potential law breaking uncovered during the FCIC’s investigation into the 2008 financial crisis. I also commend Senator Warren for requesting that the FBI release any and all materials related to the FBI’s investigations regarding these referrals. The American people deserve to know if the matters referred by the FCIC to the DOJ were fully investigated and if our laws have been appropriately enforced.

Eight years to the day after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, we are still recovering from the financial assault on our nation that wiped away trillions of dollars of wealth and cost millions of Americans their jobs and their homes. There remains a gnawing feeling that, when it comes to financial wrongdoing on Wall Street, justice has not been served.

The DOJ has yet to hold a single senior Wall Street executive accountable for the matters referred to the DOJ by the FCIC. Furthermore, while the DOJ has obtained more than $40 billion in fines from the shareholders of major financial institutions related to the mortgage securities fraud matters referred by the FCIC, it has not named one executive in any civil or criminal action related to the misconduct that led to those fines.

How is it possible that banks engaged in such massive misconduct, but no banker was involved? Is it possible that we have witnessed an immaculate corruption? It defies common sense.

The DOJ’s failure to punish wrongdoing at major financial institutions stands in stark contrast to its vigorous prosecution of more than 2,700 individuals at the local level – mortgage brokers, borrowers, and appraisers – who were small cogs in the corrupt mortgage machine. This dichotomy has rightly bred anger and cynicism about the fairness of our legal system.

When the FCIC issued its final report in January 2011, we made it clear that, consistent our statutory duty, we had referred evidence of potential violations of law to the DOJ for further investigation and, if warranted, prosecution. It was my full expectation then that the DOJ would marshal the resources necessary to conduct a fair and thorough investigation of the matters we referred to it to determine if, in fact, laws had been broken. Since the release of our final report, I have consistently called on the DOJ to do so.  Now that the National Archives and Records Administration has made the FCIC’s referrals to the DOJ a matter of public record, it is in the vital public interest to know exactly what the DOJ did to follow up on and investigate the matters and individuals referred to it by the FCIC.

No one should seek or condone prosecutions based on anything other than the facts. But our laws need to be enforced to deter future wrongdoing. And the American people need to know that a thorough investigation has been conducted; that our judicial system is fair to all, regardless of wealth or privilege; and that any wrongs will be righted.”


# # #