Stand with Elizabeth Warren: Demand public hearings on bank waivers
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Petition to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez:

  • “Hold public hearings before granting waivers to the banks that recently settled allegations of felony rigging of exchange rates, and rigorously investigate allegations of wrong-doing before granting any exemptions in the future.”
  • Stand with Elizabeth Warren: Demand public hearings on bank waivers

If we don’t act fast, criminal banks that broke the law will get to keep their perks as trusted stewards of Americans’ retirement savings.

Right now, the Department of Labor is considering whether to grant “get out of jail free” waivers to banking giants JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Barclays, three of the five banks that recently pled guilty to felony charges for rigging exchange and interest rates.1

Senator Elizabeth Warren is demanding that the Department of Labor conduct a thorough and tough public hearing before granting allowing these banks waivers allowing them to keep their “trusted” status. If we’re going to stop banks from breaking the law with impunity, we need to stand with her.

Traders at these banks, calling themselves “The Cartel” in an online chat room, carried out a deceitful scheme to manipulate exchange rates to pad their own pockets at the expense of ordinary people.2 But despite the concession of guilt, and over the fierce objections of Commissioner Kara Stein, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White just sided with the Republican commissioners to grant waivers to all five banks before the settlement was even finalized.3

Both the SEC and the Labor Department grant certain companies trusted status, allowing them to carry out certain activities like raising capital or managing pension accounts without extra scrutiny. That trusted status – “qualified professional asset managers,” in the case of the Labor Department – is worth massive amounts of money. Instead of Wall Street giants losing their trusted status when they break the law, regulators routinely give banks “get out of jail free” waivers that allow them to keep their perks, and keep raking in the big bucks.4

As Senator Warren said, “When banks plead guilty to a crime, federal agencies must do more than look the other way.”5 She isn’t asking for an end to waivers, simply a public and thorough investigation and a decision made at the top, not by staffers operating out of habit. While Mary Jo White’s SEC has already decided to stand with Wall Street, it is not too late for the Department of Labor and Labor Secretary Perez to side with Main Street.

JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Barclays, and Royal Bank of Scotland all pled guilty to rigging exchange rates, and UBS Group AG just settled similar charges of manipulating interest rates. Mary Jo White’s decision to grant these banks waivers has sparked a firestorm of controversy. The Department of Labor, which has held public hearings in the past, recently sided with Main Street over Wall Street by issuing tough new rules on retirement advisors. We need to seize this moment of public attention on waivers to convince the Labor Department to do the right thing.

Stand with Elizabeth Warren: Demand public hearings on bank waivers.

Thank you for speaking out.

Sam Forgione, “U.S. Senator Warren calls for public hearings on bank waivers,” Reuters, May 24, 2015.
Virginia Harrison and Mark Thompson, “5 big banks pay $5.4 billion for rigging currencies”, May 20, 2015.
Forgione, “U.S. Senator Warren calls for public hearings on bank waivers.”
David Michaels, “Five Guilty Banks Said Granted SEC Waivers After FX Pleas,” Bloomberg, May 20, 2015.
Forgione, “U.S. Senator Warren calls for public hearings on bank waivers.”
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