What good are rules if they are not enforced?
When the Bush-Cheney Administration drastically cut federal resources for the investigation of white-collar crime, they invited a new era of Wall Street rule-breaking and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
We must give federal law enforcers the resources they need to prosecute and punish the mortgage and corporate fraudsters that have so severely undermined our economy and hurt so many hard-working people.
The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, a bill I introduced and is being debated on the floor of the Senate this week, will do just that.
The past administration removed more than 2,000 FBI agents from white-collar crime investigations. Thousands of fraud allegations have gone unexamined, paving the way for excessive greed and depriving taxpayers of millions of dollars in fines and recoveries.
While the Bush-Cheney Justice Department devoted precious resources to produce secret legal memos that skirted the Constitution, it turned a blind eye to financial fraudsters as they skirted federal law.
We must rebuild our nation's capacity to investigate and prosecute financial fraud.
The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act takes solid steps to combat the growing wave of fraud. Specifically, my legislation:
- Authorizes an additional $245 million a year to hire hundreds of federal investigators, prosecutors, and staff to fight fraud,
- Fills in statutory gaps to account for modern types of fraud and correct erroneous court decisions,
- Updates the definition of "financial institution" in federal fraud statutes to include all mortgage lending businesses, and
- Protects federal recovery funding from fraudulent use.
If enacted, this legislation will more than pay for itself by returning the proceeds of fraud to its victims and to taxpayers.
It is important to note that top law enforcement coalitions and anti-fraud experts support this common sense legislation. After all, our national recovery depends on their ability to hold white-collar criminals accountable and enforce federal fraud regulations moving forward. And the Obama Administration has indicated that they support my bill too.
We just need Congress to act.
As we look for ways to prevent another financial crisis, we must ensure any new regulations -- and those already on the books -- are adequately enforced. Please contact your Members of Congress today and urge them to support our critical anti-fraud legislation.