In December of A.D. 2012, HSBC (one of the largest banking and financial services institutions in the world) admitted to laundering $881 million on behalf of illegal drug cartels and suffered the largest fine ever imposed on a financial institutions. However, the US government did not impose any criminal sanctions on HSBC officers or employees.
Earlier this month, at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren asks two bureaucrats from the Treasury Department to explain why the laws against money laundering were not fully enforced against HSC. The bureaucrats dance artfully around her questions for 5 minutes, Senator Warren runs out of time, and her line of inquiry ends without Senator Warren ever receiving a single straight answer to her questions.
And that’s how the “Congressional Inquiry Dance” is done. If you can shuck and jive for 5 minutes, you can skate. In the rare instances when Congressmen or Senators as important questions, procedures effectively allow such questions to go unanswered. Not always. But often.