Ocasio-Cortez asks bank CEO if ‘more folks should have gone to jail’ over foreclosure crisis

April 11, 2019

Although she’s facing plenty of questions about her own alleged campaign finance scheme, Democratic-socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) lectured a group of major banking CEOs on Wednesday, asking them if more industry professionals should have gone to jail for their role in the 2007 financial crisis.

“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?”

Watch below:

The blame game

Someone should remind Ocasio-Cortez that it was progressive government policy that caused the global financial collapse in 2007 — not an evil cabal of banking CEOs, as she suggests. It was the Clinton-era push to put lower-income Americans into homes they couldn’t actually afford that forced the banks to lower their underwriting standards, ultimately leading to millions of defaults on variable rate mortgage loans.

In fact, Ocasio-Cortez is one of the few remaining progressive radicals who still believe in the ill-gotten housing policies that led to the financial crisis. According to her website, housing is a right and “Congress must tip the balance away from housing as a gambling chip for Wall Street banks and fight for accessible housing that’s actually within working families’ reach.”

And yet, Ocasio-Cortez had the temerity to use her position on the House Financial Services Committee to hammer the banking industry for her own ideological shortcomings. The freshman congresswoman from New York suggested that more people should have gone to jail over the government’s failure to effectively regulate the banking industry.

“Do you think that the failure to hold more people accountable for the 2008 crisis is a failure of our legal system?” she asked Dimon. He responded by saying that’s a question for “legal experts” to answer.

Too big to fail

It was the first time in a decade that CEOs representing the nation’s largest banks have assembled before the House committee, and it doesn’t appear that Democrats have learned much during the intervening years. Rep. Maxine Waters, the committee chairwoman, reviled the nation’s banks as “too big to manage their own operations, too big to serve their communities, and too big to care about the harm they have caused.”

Ironically, Democrats like Waters and Ocasio-Cortez oversee a federal government that is “too big” for its own good. When 95 percent of the employees working at the Department of Housing and Urban Development are considered “nonessential,” the government has become an out-of-control budgetary behemoth.

At least the panel of bankers who endured Ocasio-Cortez’s hostile line of questioning are accountable to a bottom line; Congress, on the other hand, has repeatedly suspended debt limits and increased the debt ceiling, accounting for $8 trillion in deficit spending in the last 8 years alone.

Yet, Ocasio-Cortez expressed “concerns about how much things have really changed” since the recession. After listing a series of fines and penalties assessed against major banks since 2008 due to misconduct, the Democratic-socialist asked whether these damages were considered “the cost of doing business” rather than something to be avoided.

Look who’s talking

Ocasio-Cortez could answer the same question regarding her own legal entanglements. The congresswoman faces Federal Election Commission complaints for operating an alleged “subsidy scheme” that appears to have allowed her to raise more cash for her campaign than would otherwise be legally permitted.

With help from her campaign manager, Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez is accused of skirting federal reporting and expenditure requirements by setting up a “shadowy web” of political action committees. She also stands accused of establishing shell companies to offer herself political consulting services “at rates far below market value.”

The allegations against Ocasio-Cortez are serious enough that former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith believes she could be facing serious jail time. However, the Bronx-native doesn’t seem to be very worried about the complaints.

“You know what? If someone faces murder, you can face jail time. But we didn’t do it — like, there’s nothing here. So it’s fine,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Daily Caller last month.

In other words, it’s not like she stands accused of murdering someone. Meanwhile, in the congresswoman’s own district, children go to jail for jumping a subway turnstile…

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Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Jewish News Syndicate.