By Jay Heflin - 08/19/10 02:30 PM EDT
Pascrell decried the decision, saying it was just another example of the two worlds that exist when justice is handed down.
"I applaud Judge Sullivan for declaring from the bench what I have been saying in Congress for more than two years: We have two systems of justice in the United States, one for Wall Street and another for Main Street," he said in prepared remarks. "If your pockets are deep enough, you can violate federal laws and even foreign trade regulations and never spend a minute behind bars."
Pascrell sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees trade issues, and in 2009 introduced legislation that would have modified the Justice Department's use of deferred prosecution agreements, which was used in the Barclays case.
The bill requires the attorney general to let the public weigh in on cases using this form of agreement by posting details on the department's website.
"The Department of Justice continues to demonstrate an over-reliance on the use of deferred prosecution agreements, which makes the need to pass reforms as seen in [my bill] as necessary as ever," Pascrell said. "The American people deserve to know who is on their side and not simply read about another closed-door agreement with corporations in the papers."
Upon announcing the agreement, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the transactions "threaten the security of our country."
The Justice Department release on the agreement said Barclays stripped vital information out of payment messages that, left intact, would have tipped U.S. officials about the transactions.
"This is a matter of national priority," Pascrell said. "We are either going to live by the laws of our land, or we won't."