President Barack Obama with Elizabeth Warren on Sept. 17, 2010, to announce Warren’s appointment as assistant to the president and special adviser to then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. 

Elizabeth Warren took it straight to President Barack Obama and his administration for being soft on enforcement against big corporations and white-collar crime in a New York Times op-ed Friday. 

In the piece entitled “One Way to Rebuild Our Institutions,” Warren concedes that the Obama administration has a strong track record in using executive actions to “protect retirement savings, expand overtime pay, prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees … and rein in carbon pollution”—all important accomplishments, in her view.


Where Warren comes down on the president is in doling out punishment for significant violations by companies and their executives.

The Massachusetts senator, who was instrumental in the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, referenced her recently released report, “Rigged Justice 2016,” examining 20 of the worst federal enforcement failures of last year. Its conclusion? “Corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful prosecution for their misconduct.”

Warren noted that in case after case, when federal agencies caught Wall Street and its execs with their hands in the cookie jar—“defrauding taxpayers, covering up deadly safety problems, even precipitating the financial collapse in 2008”—they escaped with “barely a slap on the wrist.”


She writes: “The failure to adequately punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country. Justice cannot mean a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars.”

And though she never mentioned Obama by name, she did call out several corporations, including the Education Management Corp., Novartis, JPMorgan Chase and Massey Energy, saying that they got light punishment for significant misdeeds.

Read more at the New York Times.