Ad Policy

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is the Director of the Center for Media and Democracy’s Real Economy Project. She is an experienced policy wonk and public interest advocate. Her writings can be found at

  • Activism February 19, 2014

    How Pro-Austerity Groups Lost the Deficit Wars

    A funny thing happened on the way to the fiscal cliff: real people fought back.

    Mary Bottari

  • Economic Policy January 14, 2010

    Too Big to Fail, Not Too Big for Jail

    The federal inquiry hearings inevitably leads to the question: why aren't any these big players already in jail? And no, Bernie Madoff doesn't count.

    Mary Bottari

  • Economic Policy January 13, 2010

    Bank CEOs Dodge Responsibility at FCIC Hearings

    The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission sent a strong message by putting Wall Street titans under oath, but answers about the financial crisis proved evasive.

    Mary Bottari

  • June 10, 2009

    Too Big To Jail?


    Everyone wants the economy to bounce bank, and the President's not wrong to believe that the way to revive things is to boost confidence.

    But if mass confidence is what it's gong to take, the people at the bottom of our economic pyramid need hope -- not only that they'll have jobs again and homes to keep – but protection against mortgage crooks – and restitution if they've been scammed.

    The city of Baltimore is currently pursuing a suit against Wells Fargo.

    Wells Fargo stands accused of disproportionately denying minority consumers favorable loans while targeting them for subprime ones with high interest rates, mandatory arbitration clauses and punitive prepayment penalties.

    In court papers, Elizabeth Jacobson, who was one of Wells Fargo's top loan officers said, "Wells Fargo mortgages had an emerging markets unit that specifically targeted black churches, because it figured church leaders had a lot of influence and could convince congregants to take out subprime loans."

    According to another bank officer, the bank even used software, "to translate marketing materials into various languages, including something called "African American." Tony Paschal (that second loan officer,) contends that the subprimes had sub-names -- "ghetto loans" -- their recipients "mud people."

    This isn't small stuff. It's huge. Wells Fargo has faced similar complaints since the 1990s and Baltimore's just one example. Similar suits have been filed in Texas, Tennessee, and California. And Wells Fargo which denies the charges, is not alone. Joining them are most if not all of the nation's top bailout recipients including Chase Manhattan and Citigroup.

    If the president really wants the economy to bounce back, confidence needs to be restored. Well here's a question: Wells Fargo -- which (according to the FCC) gave out nearly $1 million in campaign contributions and spent $3.6 million lobbying federal officials in the same period -- stands accused.

    We've all become familiar with banks that are 'too big too fail'. Are some also too big to jail?

    The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, public television and online at and


    Mary Bottari