In a recent speech at Columbia University, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. touted the work of the Justice Department in its pursuit Wall Street criminals. While the Justice Department has been under intense criticism for its failure to pursue wrongdoers that perpetuated the 2008 financial crisis, Holder’s comments come on the heels of President Obama’s announcement during his State of the Union Address in January that the government is committed to bringing justice to Wall Street through a newly created task force. Holder opined at Columbia that the Justice Department struggles to arrest Wall Street wrongdoers because on its face, executives’ conduct has been unethical and reckless, just not criminal. According to the New York Times DealBook Holder said: “We found that much of the conduct that led to the financial crisis was unethical and irresponsible,” said Mr. Holder, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Columbia. “But we have also discovered that some of this behavior — while morally reprehensible — may not necessarily have been criminal.” That said, Holder assured that he “will not hesitate to bring prosecutions” when criminal wrongdoing is evident.
While Justice has had some recent setbacks, the Department’s task force has issued civil subpoenas to eleven financial companies that it claimed played a role in the housing crisis. Holder assured that, with several investigations ongoing, to expect more subpoenas to follow.