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Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Next president must crack down on corporate offenders

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Jan. 29, 2016 at 2:44 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- With candidates and political watchers awaiting Sen. Elizabeth Warren's endorsement in the presidential race, the Massachusetts Democrat has taken the spotlight off herself and shined it instead upon policy.

This week, Warren marked the sixth anniversary of the Citizens United decision on campaign finance rules with a speech hinting at support for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

On Friday, Warren released a report called "Rigged Justice 2016: How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy." The report is critical of the Obama administration, accusing it of "prosecutorial timidity" when it comes to penalizing corporate offenders.

"The Obama Administration has made repeated promises to strengthen enforcement and hold corporate criminals accountable," the report said. "Nonetheless, [...] accountability for corporate crimes is shockingly weak."

In an accompanying op-ed in The New York Times on Friday, Warren went further, charging the next president with a tougher stance on corporate offenders.

"The failure to adequately punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country," she wrote. "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."

The piece closes with a challenge.

"Legislative agendas matter, but voters should also ask which presidential candidates they trust with the extraordinary power to choose who will fight on the front lines to enforce the laws," she wrote. "The next president can rebuild faith in our institutions by honoring the simple notion that nobody is above the law, but it will happen only if voters demand it."

While Warren's support has been a big question mark in the Democratic race, she has not explicitly stated support for Sanders -- whose rhetoric is similar to hers -- or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In her speech on the Senate floor earlier this week, she said: "The first votes will be cast in Iowa in just 11 days. Anyone who shrugs and claims it is too hard has crawled into bed with the billionaires who want to run this country like some private club. We are headed into another presidential election, and I speak out today because I'm genuinely alarmed for our democracy."

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