February 03, 2016

Warren: Fix Rigged Justice System, Reject GOP Proposals to Shield Corporate Criminals From Prosecution

"I Promise You the American People Are Watching - And They Will Remember"

Video of remarks here
Text of remarks here (PDF)

Washington, DC - In remarks on the Senate floor this morning, Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system of justice for corporate lawbreakers and raised concerns about two Republican proposals that would make this system even worse.

"We have one set of laws on the books, but there are really two legal systems. One legal system is for big companies, for the wealthy and the powerful...In this legal system, instead of demanding actual punishment for breaking the law, the government regularly accepts token fines and phony promises to do better next time," Senator Warren said. "The second legal system is for everyone else...In this legal system, the government locks up people up for decades, ruining lives over minor drug crimes, because that's what the law demands."  

Senator Warren pushed back against Republican efforts to block criminal sentencing reform unless Congress includes a so-called mens rea amendment to make it harder for the government to prosecute corporate crimes. She also spoke in opposition to a Republican bill (H.R.766) - scheduled for a vote tomorrow in the House - that would make it harder to investigate and prosecute bank fraud.

"The American people expect better from us," the senator said.  "They expect us to straighten out our criminal justice system and reform drug enforcement practices that do nothing but destroy lives and communities. They expect us to stand up to unjustified violence. They also expect us to protect the financial system and to hold Wall Street executives accountable when they break the law. They expect us to hold big companies accountable when they steal billions from taxpayers, when they rip off students or veterans or retirees or single moms, or when they cover up health or safety problems and people get sick, get hurt, or die because of it."

Last week, Senator Warren released Rigged Justice, the first report in an annual series highlighting the most egregious cases during the past year in which federal settlements failed to require meaningful accountability to deter future wrongdoing and to protect taxpayers and families. She also published an op-ed in the New York Times about the importance of strong enforcement against corporate offenders and the need for equal justice under the law.

Watch Senator Warren's speech here, and read a PDF copy of the full speech here.