Former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank (D., Mass.) advocated criminal prosecutions against “individuals” involved in the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent collapse on Wall Street Friday on CNBC.
Maria Bartiromo reacted incredulously to Frank’s refusal to name specific individuals who may have perpetrated criminal wrongdoing, accusing the former Congressman of playing populist politics by making specious allegations against the financial industry.
Frank attempted to deflect the criticism by stating as Chair of House Financial Services Committee he had no authority to prosecute and therefore could not make specific allegations about past criminal activity he alleges was committed by certain “individuals:”
MARIA BARTIROMO: All I want to do is see the evidence. This is a democracy and America, right? So let’s look at the evidence. Just show it to me.
BARNEY FRANK: That’s what I’m telling you to do. I’m saying to you —
MARIA BARTIROMO: But you were in charge, you could have done that! Did you find any evidence?
BARNEY FRANK: I’m sorry, you don’t understand this situation very well.
MARIA BARTIROMO: You were the head of the Banking Committee. I want to know what kind of evidence you saw in terms of actual evidence of criminality.
BARNEY FRANK: I’m explaining to you in the first place the committee I chaired had had no jurisdiction over criminal proceedings. That’s the Judiciary Committee. Secondly, we were focused on trying to deal with the crisis at first, at the request of the Bush Administration, and then to have new rules going forward. The committee I chaired did not have jurisdiction over past criminal behavior. Our jurisdiction was over trying to move things forward and that’s what I did. I am giving you examples, and you say it’s a democracy – I agree. That’s why you do not name names the way you are irresponsibly doing or trying to get me [to do].