A new book authored by a former staffer for Joe Biden slams the Obama administration and the Justice Department for what he sees as tepid enforcement of crimes perpetrated by Wall Street higher-ups during the 2008 financial crisis.
Jeff Connaughton, who more recently worked as chief of staff for former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), just released “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins,” which details his battle with Washington’s powerful to “hold Wall Street executives accountable,” according to his website. In the book, Connaughton discusses the issues he and Kaufman had pushing the department, the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission to take action.
In an excerpt, provided by Politico, Connaughton writes about a 2009 meeting with Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer.
“In the summer of 2009, we asked Lanny Breuer, by then confirmed by the Senate as the new assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, for a meeting. It was September before Breuer and his top team of fraud-enforcement advisors could see us. … Ted started by saying he appreciated all the effort that he knew was under way, but that [Senate Judiciary Committee] Chairman [Patrick] Leahy had asked him to chair an oversight hearing, which would create a public forum for learning about the strategy and direction of the Justice Department’s and FBI’s investigative work.
This was news to Breuer and the other Justice Department lawyers, and it certainly got their attention. In the chitchat prior to the meeting, Breuer had mentioned that he’d done a series of speeches to the whitecollar bar and that he was going to Romania (where former Biden staffer Mark Gitenstein serves as ambassador) to give a speech. I remember wondering: ‘What is he doing spending all his time on a speech tour?’ “