Clinton Says She Would Break Up ‘Big Banks’ If Needed

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton said in South Carolina on Saturday she is willing to split apart big financial institutions should the need arise.

         The Democratic primary front-runner told Democrats gathered at a rally in North Charleston that she has the "toughest" proposals for dealing with Wall Street. She says would "break up the big banks" if necessary and hold top financial executives accountable.

         "I go after not just the banks," Clinton told the crowd, pledging a tough approach to regulating the industry despite receiving tens of millions in speaking fees, donations to the family foundation and campaign cash from Wall Street in her career. "I go after the hedge funds, big insurance companies, shadow banking."

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         The issue of Clinton's long-running ties to Wall Street is getting a fresh look after last weekend's Democratic presidential debate. Both of her primary rivals back reinstating the law known as Glass-Steagall, which once separated commercial and investment banks.

         But Clinton and her advisers argue that Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the failure of large financial institutions, such as investment bank Lehman Brothers and insurer AIG, during the Great Recession.

         Clinton's allies have defended her stance. Earlier this month, former Rep. Barney Frank — a driving force behind the 2010 financial overhaul law that bears his name — said it was wrong to suggest that lawmakers who pushed for the changes were influenced by campaign donations from the financial services industry.

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         After her speech, Clinton officially filed her paperwork as a candidate in South Carolina's primary. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley also addressed the gathering separately.

         – by AP Reporters Meg Kinnard and Lisa Lerer


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