At a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked the nation's top financial regulators why Wall Street firms who broke the law were not taken to trial.
"We face some very special issues with big financial institutions," she said. "If they can break the law and drag in billions and billions in profits, and then turn around and settle -- paying out of those profits -- they don't have much incentive to follow the law. It is also the case that every time there is a settlement and not a trial, we didn't have those days and days and days of testimony about what those financial institutions had been up to."
Warren asked how tough the financial regulators were and questioned them about the last time a major Wall Street firm had been put on trial.
Thomas Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency, said his primary duty was to correct deficiencies in the financial system and that it wasn't necessary to bring anyone to trial. Elisse B. Walter, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, was also unable to recall when a Wall Street firm had been taken to trial.
"I just want to note on this, there are District Attorneys and U.S. Attorneys who are out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it," Warren said. "I'm really concerned that too big to fail has become too big for trial. That just seems wrong to me."
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below: