consultants are sandburs

Friday, December 28, 2012

... the goal of prosecution of culpable individuals ...

Barney Frank, on his way out the door, suggesting what in an ideal world should be a measure with resounding bipartisan public-spirited support:

Click that image of the Dec. 18 letter from Congressman Frank to Attorney General Holder. There is universal sense to what the man proposes, with only the miscreants among us having grounds for disapproval.

In an emailing distributing the letter to subscribers, Frank enlarged on the thinking:

Officials of the Administration have argued with some basis that instituting criminal proceedings against financial institutions can be destabilizing, and have instead opted for civil proceedings against acknowledged violators of laws that are important for the maintenance of the stability and integrity of our financial system. But these constraints do not apply to prosecution of the individuals who have perpetrated these acts, and this should be vigorously pursued. From the standpoint of deterrence, prosecuting individuals is preferable as this raises few if any questions about institutional stability. Despite the Supreme Court’s conservative majority decision to confer certain human rights on corporations, they are still incapable of acting without human agents, and I cannot conceive of a situation where a corporation is in fact guilty of violating the law where no individuals can and should be held accountable.

The email indicates:

The letter to Attorney General Holder is attached. Letters were also sent to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Chairman Gary Gensler of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Chairman Elisse Walter of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Chairman Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and Thomas Curry, Comptroller of the Currency.

Is this Frank cynically going through the motions knowing there will be unseeing eyes and deaf ears? Or is it one final on-the-way-out-of-DC salvo of reason? A liklihood is unseeing eyes and deaf ears will be the outcome, but the motivation of Frank will be known only in seeing what he does after leaving Congress. Going to K Street would say one thing, retiring to Boston in other directions would say the thing is legitimately felt. Because Barney Frank is so well-spoken it is, as with Obama who also is well-spoken, we must wait and see.

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