Will FBI Nominee James Comey Make Investigating Financial Fraud A Priority?

News broke last week that President Obama will be nominating former Bush Deputy Attorney General to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Comey’s nomination has stirred a debate about civil liberties and the surveillance state, but one issue that has not arisen is what he plans to do about the bureau’s approach to financial fraud.

As former S&L crisis regulator William K. Black notes, the FBI’s staff dedicated to pursuing white collar crime have been greatly reduced after 9/11. Around 500 FBI white collar crime specialists were shifted to national security functions. As Black says, that was “quite understandable. But what’s not understandable is the administration refused to allow the FBI to replace those folks.”

Check out this 2008 infographic from the New York Times laying out the decline in the FBI’s capacity to pursue white collar crime:

 

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