FBI’s Records on Financial Crisis Requested by U.S. Lawmaker

  • Rep. Pascrell of New Jersey cites ‘transparency’ in call
  • Points to released FBI files and report in Clinton probe

FBI files on the firms that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis should be released to help the public understand why no senior executives were charged, a U.S. congressman from New Jersey said.

Democrat Bill Pascrell asked FBI Director James Comey for witness interview transcripts, notes, reports and memos from the agency’s probes into the crisis, according to a letter dated Tuesday. Pascrell said the Federal Bureau of Investigation initiated criminal inquiries into at least 14 companies as part of its investigation into the origins of the crisis, which was ignited when prices of subprime-mortgage bonds plummeted after home-loan defaults soared.

"Here we are eight years later -- do you think the public knows how this happened? Do you think the public knows all of the recommendations made to the Justice Department?" Pascrell said Wednesday in an interview. "Why are Hillary Clinton’s e-mails any more important?"

The FBI earlier this month released a summary investigation and interview with Clinton to provide context on its recommendation that the Justice Department not prosecute Clinton or her aides for using a private e-mail system. The Democratic presidential nominee was interviewed by FBI agents and federal prosecutors for 3 1/2 hours on July 2 in Washington.

Public Service

Pascrell, who sits on both the budget and ways and means committees, said in many cases it would be too late to bring legal actions. Releasing the information would increase transparency and provide a public service, he said. Some of the investigations would have taken place under Republican President George W. Bush and some under current Democratic President Barack Obama.

"I am not making this a partisan issue, except to say that the party in the majority chose to bring all of her e-mails out to the public," he said. "I simply want it laid out on the record and I want to see what they came up with."

While the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission “have secured financial settlements from several major financial institutions in recent years, the investigations into potential criminal activity remain hidden from the public,” Pascrell said in his letter, which was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

Mark Abueg, an FBI spokesman, said the Justice Department has received the letter and is currently reviewing it. He declined to comment.

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