Don’t Turn Banks Into Regulated Utilities
In a recent House Financial Services Committee hearing, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) blasted Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan. That she would attack Sloan was no surprise, but her specific line of questioning was.
“Why was the bank involved in the caging of children and financing the caging of children to begin with?,” the freshman congresswoman demanded, apparently referencing the fact that Wells once lent money to a company than runs immigration detention facilities.
Ocasio-Cortez also suggested that Wells should be liable for any environmental damage involving projects the bank helps finance. “Hypothetically,” she asked, “if there was a leak from the Dakota Access pipeline, why shouldn’t Wells Fargo pay for the cleanup of it, since they paid for the construction of the pipeline itself?”
One could easily dismiss Ocasio-Cortez version of liability as nonsense. After all, where would her logic end? Should the people who deposited money with Wells Fargo be liable, too? Perhaps the companies where those individuals earned their money?