Warren: 'Playing field is tilted'

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) accused Credit Suisse on Thursday of helping "people break the law" at a Washington conference of the New America Foundation.

Warren, a frequent Wall Street critic, was asked about Credit Suisse following her prepared remarks. She never mentioned the institution by name and used the question to pivot toward Wall Street accountability.

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"It was not for taxpayers to shelter their assets," Warren said. "It was to help people break the law. That's why they are in trouble, and we have to call this out."

Earlier this week, Credit Suisse agreed to a $2.6 billion settlement in a plea deal with the federal government, admitting it helped U.S. citizens dodge taxes. It is the largest bank to plead to criminal charges in two decades

Warren pressed the Obama administration to do more.

"During the financial crisis, I would say the single issue we've pushed the hardest on was — in return for the tens of billions of dollars that was shoveled in for these biggest financial institutions — a little accountability," she said. "What we got — and I want to be clear and this was under both administrations — was nothing, nothing and nothing out of that.

"This is one more way in which the playing field is tilted. Wall Street has been rebuilt. Has anybody looked at the Dow Jones?"

In response to another question from the audience, Warren maintained that she is not considering a run for president in 2016, despite the crowd of about 200 people chanting, "Run, Elizabeth, run."

"I appreciate the thought," she said. "I am not running for president."

Warren's public speeches typically include criticism of the large financial institutions, advocating for more regulation and saying that such firms have become "too big to jail."

"Just look at the big banks. They cheated American families, crashed the economy, got bailed out, and now the six biggest banks are 37 percent bigger than they were in 2008," Warren said in her speech on Thursday. "They still swagger through Washington, blocking reforms and pushing around agencies."

In recent speeches, she has debuted a new attack line to take on big banks: marijuana.

"A kid gets caught with a few ounces of pot and goes to jail, but a big bank breaks the law on laundering drug money or manipulating currency, and no one even gets arrested. The game is rigged," Warren said.

She used the line last week, too, during comments at an event in Washington hosted by Public Citizen.

Warren has expressed support of medicinal marijuana in the past, but she opposed recreational legalization.