DECEMBER 09, 2011 / BY CAMPAIGN STAFF California's 'top cop' investigates bank industry

When California ColorOfChange members went to the polls last year to help elect Kamala Harris as the state's Attorney General, this was exactly the type of bold action they were hoping Harris would deliver. Harris, California’s first elected black DA and the nation’s first elected South Asian DA, announced this week that she would ally with Nevada's AG to investigate misconduct and fraud in the mortgage industry. In other words, Harris said 'no' to an in-the-works plan to let the big banks off with a $20 million settlement-- a slap on the wrist that in no way compensates for the devastation brought on by their predatory practices.

For months, Harris has been pressured by the Obama administration to accept that deal. ColorOfChange members called on her to stay strong and demand accountability for Wall Street's worst offenders. She heard the message, and we later thanked Harris for her courage in opposing any settlement that would let banks off the hook.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the alliance between Calilfornia's and Nevada's AGs could raise the stakes for the banks, forcing them to propose a better settlement or risk investigation. The two states have been particularly hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, with 1.2 million California homeowners have faced foreclosure in the past three years. And people of color are more than twice as likely to lose their homes to foreclosure than whites. These numbers are disturbing, and the banks responsible can't be allowed to operate with impunity. We applaud AG Harris for this week's announcement, and for once again working in the best interests of her constituents.