Ocasio-Cortez grills bankers on if more should have gone to jail for financial crisis

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTlaib rallies in support of Green New Deal at Detroit town hall Ocasio-Cortez plans visit to Kentucky despite being disinvited by GOP colleague Overnight Energy: Flint residents can sue EPA over water crisis | Environmentalists see victory with Green New Deal blitz | March global temperatures were second hottest on record | EPA told to make final decision on controversial pesticide MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday questioned major banking CEOs on whether more industry figures should have gone to prison over the 2007 financial crisis.

In a House Financial Services Committee hearing meant to assess preparedness since the crisis, Ocasio-Cortez expressed “concerns about how much things have really changed” since the recession. She noted fines and penalties in the interim, such as Bank of America’s $16.5 billion settlement in 2014 over misconduct related to mortgage-backed securities as well as a $20 million and another $720 million in consumer relief.

She questioned the bankers on whether the fines and penalties were viewed as “the cost of doing business” rather than something to be avoided.

"I represent kids that go to jail for jumping a turnstile because they can't afford a MetroCard,” Ocasio-Cortez told JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. “Do you think that more folks should have gone to jail for their role in a financial crisis that led to 7.8 million foreclosures in the 10 years between 2007 and 2016?"

Dimon responded that people should not be imprisoned for jumping turnstiles but demurred on whether more figures involved in the financial crisis should be imprisoned, deferring to “legal experts.”

Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive freshman lawmaker, has made income inequality and financial reform a key focus of her time in Congress so far.

The committee summoned the CEOs of the nation’s largest banks as a group for the first time since 2009 for the Wednesday hearing, during which the witnesses claimed their respective companies have become safer and more responsible since they were bailed out during the crisis.

However, committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOn The Money: House Dem says marijuana banking bill will get vote in spring | Buttigieg joins striking Stop & Shop workers | US home construction slips in March | Uber gets B investment for self-driving cars Democrats should be careful wielding more investigations Dem House chairs: Mueller report 'does not exonerate the president' MORE (D-Calif.) expressed concerns that “several of these institutions are simply too big to manage their own operations, too big to serve their communities, and too big to care about the harm they have caused.”