There's nothing Sen. Elizabeth Warren loves more than tearing into some corporate executive unlucky enough to have been dragged into a Senate hearing, grinning with savage joy as blood and entrails dangle from her lips. It's not just a good show – it's what sustains her. All the better when some government agency can join her and rip some extra bits of flesh off, perhaps even levying a fine or two while they're at it.
Thus Warren's displeasure this week when she found that the Department of Labor, in the midst of a transition to Trump-appointed leadership, has dropped its Wells Fargo employee complaint page in a symbolic shift to a sensible, pro-fraud regulatory stance. From Bloomberg:
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren asked the Department of Labor for an update on its investigation into Wells Fargo & Co.’s sales practices after she was unable to access a website the agency set up to track complaints from the bank’s employees.
“I am concerned that the Department of Labor has removed the website where Wells Fargo’s employees who were victims of the company’s fraudulent actions could file labor complaints or report illegal activity,” Warren wrote in a letter Thursday to Edward Hugler, acting Labor secretary.
Now a visit to www.dol.gov/wellsfargo yields a blank “page not found” message. The page had been set up in September as a response to allegations that Wells Fargo had unceremoniously fired thousands of employees who had refused to participate in the wanton opening of fraudulent customer accounts. Terminated employees have filed several class action lawsuits against the bank.
On Friday, however, DoL suggested that Trump had nothing to do with the decision to deactivate the site. Evidently three months was enough time to build a large enough dossier against Wells Fargo, just in time for Andy Puzder to toss it into an industrial-sized grease dumpster.
With Labor apparently backing away from the corporate hunt, Warren has only the CFPB at her side, so long as Trump doesn't try to fire its independently appointed director Richard Cordray. If Trump does go after Cordray, however, he'd be taking a swipe at Warren's own offspring, the agency she helped bring into being. In which case, expect another good show.