Ohio senator wants tougher penalties for big banks

WASHINGTON — 

Sen. Sherrod Brown wants to know: Does “too big to fail” mean “too big to jail?”

Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder questioning the federal government can effectively prosecute banks that have been deemed “too big to fail.”

Specifically, they want to know if the federal government can prosecute those banks and impose penalties on them. They also want Justice Department to disclose the identities of parties that prosecutors consult with about the appropriate level of penalties for financial institutions.

“Already, the nation’s six largest megabanks enjoy what amounts to taxpayer-funded guarantee by virtue of their size, making it harder for regional and community banks to compete,” Brown, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in a statement. “Now, these megabanks may also enjoy some impunity when they violate the law by laundering money or illegally foreclosing on homeowners. Wall Street should pay the full price of its wrongdoing, not pass the costs along to taxpayers.”

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Ohio senator wants tougher penalties for big banks »