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California AG asked to hold "Wall Street crooks" accountable

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- With California ground zero for the mortgage and foreclosure crisis, thousands of Californians called on California State Attorney General Kamala Harris to stand up to the Obama administration, federal regulators and many of her fellow attorneys general by refusing to give a "get out of jail free" card to unscrupulous members of the mortgage industry.

Officials from the Sacramento and San Francisco offices of the Attorney General accepted delivery of 38,358 signatures from Californians, gathered over the last two weeks, calling on Kamala Harris to publicly state her opposition to any settlement that gives Wall Street banks criminal or civil immunity for crimes that have not yet been investigated.

Despite the continued financial crisis, federal regulators, the Obama administration, and a large number of state attorneys general, led by Iowa's Tom Miller, are trying to settle with the biggest banks, letting them off the hook with the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. Reports that have leaked to the press throughout the negotiations show an unwillingness to contemplate real penalties for the criminal activity of the mortgage industry. Immunity would short-circuit the investigations necessary to document the misdeeds of the mortgage industry, punish people for their wrongdoings, and force banks to change their practices to help borrowers and homeowners.

"Attorney General Kamala Harris has the opportunity to be a hero, not just for Californians, but for all Americans," said Becky Bond, political director for CREDO Action. "But she can be a hero if, and only if, she publicly opposes any settlement that gives unscrupulous banks blanket immunity for crimes before they have even been investigated."

Attorney General Harris has a special role to play. California homeowners have been disproportionately affected by the financial crisis and have lost over $1.7 trillion in equity since 2007 as a result of unscrupulous and possibly criminal behavior by banks.

"When it comes to whether she will hold Wall Street accountable, silence is not golden,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “It's time for Kamala Harris to make clear she will oppose criminal and civil immunity for Wall Street."

About CREDO Action

CREDO Action has 2 million members across the U.S. who fight for progressive change and raise money for organizations like Planned Parenthood and Wellstone Action. Since 1985, CREDO and its membership have donated over $65 million to social justice organizations.

About Progressive Change Campaign Committee

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) works to elect bold progressive candidates to federal office and to help those candidates and their campaigns save money, work smarter, and win more often. With 800,000 national members, PCCC also advocates for bold leadership on the most important and pressing causes.