A coalition of Democratic lawmakers and progressive leaders held a conference call this morning to push the Obama Administration to spearhead a comprehensive investigation into the mortgage securities market. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) led the call.
Suggesting that some of the major financial institutions that triggered the subprime mortgage crisis have not been held fully accountable, Brown said that “Wall Street is not just too big to fail, it’s too big to jail.”
Brown and Miller both left open the possibility that the investigation could lead to criminal convictions. “If there is evidence that there were violations of criminal laws, then they should pursue criminal penalties,” Miller said.
The subtext of the call was clear: Barack Obama should be in the vanguard of this effort. Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org, said that the president should play a leading role both for moral and political purposes. “It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also good politics,” Ruben said. Miller said that he has heard rumors that Obama will devote “a sentence or two or three” to their effort to achieve a fair settlement for home owners in tomorrow’s State of the Union address.