Sens. Warren, Coburn Seek More Info About Federal Settlements

More transparency on government deals that end investigations


WASHINGTON—Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tom Coburn on Wednesday introduced legislation requiring federal agencies to disclose more information about settlements that end government investigations, such as whether the money paid by companies is tax-deductible.

The bipartisan bill—Warren is a Massachusetts Democrat and Coburn an Oklahoma Republican—reflects widespread concern on Capitol Hill that banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other companies often cut deals to avoid potentially steeper penalties and court costs for violating federal laws.

Those deals sometimes aren't as costly to the companies as they appear, the senators said.

"When government agencies reach settlements with companies that break the law, they should disclose the terms of those deals to the public," said Warren, who has been outspoken in criticizing the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators for reaching deals instead of going to trial.