By Tracy Bloom
Calling Into Question: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is doing what many of our elected officials have failed to do the past few years—she’s demanding the federal government explain why not a single Wall Street bank has been prosecuted in the wake of the financial meltdown. Warren continued her quest Tuesday, sending a letter to the heads of three federal agencies—Attorney General Eric Holder, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke—questioning whether they had done any research on the trade-offs of prosecuting the big banks versus settling with them. If they had, she asked the officials to send an analysis to her office. Warren pointed out the importance of strong regulatory enforcement so that banks follow the laws. She wrote: “If a regulator reveals itself to be unwilling to take large financial institutions all the way to trial—either because it is too timid or because it lacks resources—the regulator has a lot less leverage in settlement negotiations and will be forced to settle on terms that are much more favorable to the wrongdoer.” (Read more)
Double Standard: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is accusing Republicans of hypocrisy over their reaction to the revelation that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, noting that GOP lawmakers didn’t seem to be bothered when the IRS did the same to liberal groups while George W. Bush was president. “What the IRS did of course is inexcusable. But this is not the first time we’ve seen this,” Reid said, pointing out that the IRS targeted such organizations as the NAACP and Greenpeace during the second Bush administration. He continued: “At that time, we didn’t hear a single Republican grandstand the issue then. Where was their outrage when groups on the other side of the political spectrum were under attack?” (Read more)
Damage Assessment: Nate Silver says his general rule of thumb is that most political scandals don’t have as much electoral impact as people might think. However, the FiveThirtyEight blogger and election forecaster believes the IRS matter could be an exception to his rule. Silver says it has the potential to harm Democrats next year during the midterm elections not just because it could motivate Republicans to turn out at the polls, but also because it passes a series of five questions he came up with in 2008 to determine whether a political scandal “has legs.” New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight: “My conclusion, as you’ll see, is that the I.R.S. story scores relatively high, meaning it could have a substantial political impact.” (Read more)
Divine Intervention: Jesus Christ has endorsed Anna L. Pierre to become the next mayor of North Miami—at least, that’s what Pierre, a ’90s Creole-language pop star, is claiming on a campaign poster she posted to her Facebook page. “I had a revelation when I was going to give up on this race. I had a dream. I know what I saw,” she said. “A figure I can’t explain told me, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am your friend. I am walking with you side by side. You are not alone.’ I felt it was from heaven. It was an endorsement by Jesus.” Will the backing push her over the top? With voters heading to the polls Tuesday, we’ll find out soon enough. (Read more)
Video of the Day: Political humorist Stephen Colbert, for one, is celebrating the IRS’ targeting. That’s right—celebrating. Because it proves everything he’s ever said about President Obama must be true. Said Colbert: “So, it’s official: He’s a secret Muslim, shape-shifting alien from Kenya who’s coming for our guns, and Bo is a member of the Illuminati.” Watch below and see Colbert explain how his super PAC may have been a victim of the scandal.