Posted on

How High Bail Costs Contribute to Systemic Poverty

Last month, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act to encourage states to reform their bail systems. Beyond shrinking our overly expanded incarcerated population, bail reform would boost the United States’ stagnating income mobility by reforming a system that traps the poor in poverty.

Of the 646,000 people in local jails, 70% have not yet been convicted of a crime.

Upward mobility has stalled. According to Stanford Professor of Economics Raj Chetty, “social mobility is low and has been for at least thirty or forty years.” Of those born into the bottom income quintile, more than a third remain there as adults. However, progressives who blame the free market misdiagnose the problem.

A 50-state analysis found that in more economically free states – those with fewer labor regulations and smaller governments – the wealth of the poor rises more quickly than the wealth of the rich because freer markets produce more opportunity for everyone. The problem is that government policies like steep bail hamstring low-income individuals’ efforts to advance.

When low-income Americans can’t pay their bail, they go to jail. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, of the 646,000 people in local jails, 70 percent have not yet been convicted of a crime. Most are awaiting their trial. In 2002, those jailed had a median income of $15,109 prior to incarceration. Many inmates are there due to low-level crimes, like not paying a traffic ticket or driving without a license.

Jail Time Is a Huge Economic Hurdle

Being jailed reduces earnings. Jailed individuals often lose their jobs when they don’t show up to work the next day. Many individuals even plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit in order to avoid the weeks or months of jail time associated with a bail they can’t afford. The Journal of Legal Studies found that when judges assigned a money bail, suspects were 12 percent more likely to be convicted, in part because they were more likely to plead guilty to avoid jail and in part because they had less access to their public defenders.

This can have profound future implications, as many employers are leery of hiring people with a criminal record. Jailed individuals are even likely to become repeat criminals: the same study found that pretrial detention caused a 6-9 percent increase in recidivism.

Jail hurts poor people twice, first by depriving them of income behind bars and then by stigmatizing them once they are free.

These factors add up to lower earnings: a Pew study found incarceration reduced individuals’ yearly earnings by 40 percent. Formerly incarcerated Americans are hit even harder over the course of a lifetime: according to the same study, “By age 48, the typical former inmate will have earned $179,000 less than if he had never been incarcerated.” This doesn’t factor in the loss of income jailed individuals suffer while waiting for their trial.

When individuals are prevented from working and pushed into scenarios that encourage recidivism, they’re less able to escape poverty.

Jail hurts poor people twice: once by depriving them of income behind bars and once by stigmatizing them once they are free. The end result is less income mobility. Formerly incarcerated men in the bottom earnings quintile were twice as likely to still be there 20 years later, compared to men who were never sent to jail or prison. While part of this is due to the fact that incarcerated individuals are more likely to be frequent criminals, part is due to the negative effects of even one jail stretch.

Jail Time Hurts People Who Aren’t Criminals

Jail time also hurts the children of the incarcerated, creating inter-generational poverty. According to a meta-study on the subject, children with incarcerated parents are three times more likely to end up incarcerated themselves. Having an incarcerated parent can leave children with psychological scars such as depression, and can even aggravate learning disabilities.

Even when individuals can make bail and remain free until trial, they often require a bail bond to do so. A bail bond is a payment an insurance company makes on the accused’s behalf, but these companies often charge a payment of 10 percent of bail. The average bail for a felony is $10,000, and even misdemeanors often have four-figure bail amounts. Bail bonds often amount to a substantial fine that the working poor are ill-equipped to pay.

Bail bonds often amount to a substantial fine that the working poor are ill-equipped to pay.

Even individuals who can pull together the money for bail on their own may find that it wipes out their savings. While bail money is refunded at trial, going without thousands of dollars for several weeks can leave people, especially poor people, in danger of financial ruin.

Economic mobility is relatively strong for non-incarcerated individuals. Pew notes that 15 percent of never-incarcerated Americans who start in the bottom economic quintile end up in the top quintile. Our bail systems force poor individuals to choose between unfeasible short-term fees that can spell financial ruin, or the long-term earning potential loss that comes with jail time. For these people, upward mobility is a broken promise.

Julian Adorney


Julian Adorney
Julian Adorney is a Young Voices Advocate. His work has been featured in dozens of outlets, including National Review, Fox News’ Nation, and Lawrence Reed’s best-selling economics anthology Excuse Me, Professor.
Posted on

Legal Services Corp. Eliminated by Trump Budget

President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget eliminates funding for the Legal Services Corp. In his first budget proposal released Thursday, Trump is cutting discretionary spending to pay for an increase in defense spending and the wall on the Mexican border, the Washington Post reports.
The LSC is among 19 agencies in line for total elimination of funding. Others agencies to be cut include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts, according to the Post and USA Today.

The American Bar Association is “outraged” that the Trump administration is calling to eliminate funding for the LSC and is calling upon members of Congress to restore it, ABA President Linda Klein said in a statement Thursday. Klein noted that LSC offices are in every congressional district and help 1.9 million people annually.

“Some of the worthy services the LSC provides include securing housing for veterans, protecting seniors from scams, delivering legal services to rural areas, protecting victims of domestic abuse and helping disaster survivors,” Klein wrote. “More than 30 cost-benefit studies all show that legal aid delivers far more in benefits than it costs,” Klein wrote. “If veterans become homeless, or disaster victims cannot rebuild, their costs to society are significantly more.”

Also supporting the LSC are the heads of more than 150 U.S. law firms, who told Trump in a letter that eliminating funding would hamper their ability to provide pro bono representation because they partner with legal aid groups receiving LSC funding.

“Eliminating the Legal Services Corp. will not only imperil the ability of civil legal aid organizations to serve Americans in need, it will also vastly diminish the private bar’s capacity to help these individuals,” the letter stated. “The pro bono activity facilitated by LSC funding is exactly the kind of public-private partnership the government should encourage, not eliminate.”

The LSC requested $502 million for fiscal year 2017 and received $385 million in appropriations for fiscal year 2016.

LSC President Jim Sandman remained optimistic about the outlook for the LSC in an interview with Bloomberg Big Law Business. He said he expected Congress to ignore Trump’s proposal and to grant the full $502 million funding request.

“We represent a fundamental American value—equal justice,” Sandman told Bloomberg. “That’s a value as old as the republic itself. Congress understands that.”

Posted on

Green card holders also banned from entering U.S.; airlines start turning passengers away

The fallout grew Saturday from President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown as U.S. legal permanent residents and visa-holders from seven Muslim-majority countries who had left the United States found they could not return for 90 days.

It was a period of limbo for an unknown number of non-American citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen now barred from the country where they were studying or had lived, perhaps for years.

A federal law enforcement official who confirmed the temporary ban said it covers legal permanent residents — green card holders — and visa-holders from those seven countries who are out of the United States after Friday, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order.

The official said there was an exemption for foreigners whose entry is in the U.S. national interest. It was not immediately clear how that exemption might be applied.

Trump’s order exempts diplomats.

Those already in the U.S. with a visa or green card will be allowed to stay, according to the official, who wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the details of how Trump’s order was being put in place and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Customs and Border Protection was notifying airlines about passengers whose visas had been canceled or legal residents scheduled to fly back to the U.S. Airlines were being told to keep them off those flights.

Trump’s order barred all refugees from entering the U.S. for four months, and indefinitely halted any from Syria. He said the ban was needed to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists.”

Posted on

Trump’s Executive Order to Limit Migration for “National Security” Reasons Has No Basis In Fact

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order shortly to temporarily ban all visas for people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia among other actions.  An advanced copy of this order was available earlier this week.  The first sentence of his order states that it is to “protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.”  However, the countries that Trump chose to temporarily ban are not serious terrorism risks.

I compiled a list of foreign-born people who committed or were convicted of attempting to commit a terrorist attack on U.S. soil from 1975 through 2015.  Below is a table with the distribution of their countries of origin (Figure 1).  The first seven countries are those to be initially and, hopefully, temporarily denied visas.  During the time period analyzed here, 17 foreign-born folks from those nations were convicted of carrying out or attempting to carry out a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and they killed zero people.  Zero Libyans or Syrians intended to carry out an attack on U.S. soil during this time.

Figure 1

Foreign-Born Terrorist Country of Origin, 1975-2015

Country

Terrorists

Murders

Terrorists (percent)

Murders (percent)

Iran

6

0

3.9%

0.0%

Iraq

2

0

1.3%

0.0%

Libya

0

0

0.0%

0.0%

Somalia

2

0

1.3%

0.0%

Sudan

6

0

3.9%

0.0%

Syria

0

0

0.0%

0.0%

Yemen

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Afghanistan

3

0

1.9%

0.0%

Algeria

4

0

2.6%

0.0%

Armenia

6

1

3.9%

0.0%

Australia

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Bangladesh

2

0

1.3%

0.0%

Bosnia

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Croatia

9

1

5.8%

0.0%

Cuba

11

3

7.1%

0.1%

Dominican Republic

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Egypt

11

162

7.1%

5.4%

Ethiopia

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

France

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Ghana

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Guyana

2

0

1.3%

0.0%

Haiti

3

0

1.9%

0.0%

India

2

0

1.3%

0.0%

Japan

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Jordan

4

0

2.6%

0.0%

Kazakhstan

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Kosovo

2

0

1.3%

0.0%

Kuwait

2

6

1.3%

0.2%

Kyrgyzstan

2

3

1.3%

0.1%

Lebanon

4

159

2.6%

5.2%

Macedonia

3

0

1.9%

0.0%

Mexico

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Morocco

3

0

1.9%

0.0%

Nigeria

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Pakistan

14

3

9.1%

0.1%

Palestine

5

2

3.2%

0.1%

Saudi Arabia

19

2,369

12.3%

78.3%

Serbia

2

0

1.3%

0.0%

South Korea

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Taiwan

1

1

0.6%

0.0%

Trinidad and Tobago

2

1

1.3%

0.0%

Turkey

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

United Arab Emirates

2

314

1.3%

10.4%

United Kingdom

3

0

1.9%

0.0%

Uzbekistan

3

0

1.9%

0.0%

Vietnam

1

0

0.6%

0.0%

Total

154

3,024

100.0%

100.0%

Sources: John Mueller, ed., Terrorism Since 9/11: The American Cases; RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents; National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism Global Terrorism Database; Center on National Security; Charles Kurzman, “Spreadsheet of Muslim-American Terrorism Cases from 9/11 through the End of 2015,” University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill; Department of Justice; Federal Bureau of Investigation; New America Foundation; Mother Jones; Senator Jeff Sessions; Various news sources; Court documents.

Attempting or committing a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is not the only terrorist offense.  Materially supporting foreign terrorist organizations, seeking to join a foreign terrorist group overseas, plotting or carrying out terrorist attacks in other countries, and others are also terrorism offenses.  I excluded foreign-born people convicted of those offenses because Trump is concerned with “making America safe again,” not with making other countries safe or with a global war on terrorism.  A terrorist attack in another country doesn’t kill Americans inside of the United States and these threats are not what concern American voters nearly as much as terrorism on U.S. soil.  You can call this an America First weighting of terrorism offenses.

Trump’s executive order cites the “[h]undreds of foreign-born individuals [who] have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes” as another reason for a visa ban for these countries.  He likely got the “hundreds of foreign-born individuals” from a news release and list put out by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) that purportedly shows all 580 “terrorism-related” convictions since 9/11 with at least 380 of them as immigrants.

It is disturbing that Sessions’ flawed list of terrorism convictions is the basis for much of this executive order.  There are at least two major problems with the list.  First, you might get the impression that all of those convictions were for terrorist attacks planned on U.S.-soil but only 40, or 6.8 percent, were.  Second, 241 of the 580 convictions, or 42 percent, were not even for terrorism offenses.  Many of the investigations started based on a terrorism tip like, for instance, the suspect wanting to buy a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.  However, the tip turned out to be groundless and the legal saga ended with only a mundane conviction of receiving stolen cereal.  According to Sessions’ list, that cereal thief is a terrorist.

In the little over 13 years covered in the Sessions’ list, there were about three convictions per year for planning or committing an attack on U.S. soil.  For every one of them, there were six non-terrorism convictions counted as terrorism and 4.5 convictions for supporting, joining, or planning a terrorist attack overseas.  In short, the list provided by Senator Jeff Sessions does not show a daunting terrorist threat to American lives in the homeland.

Trump’s executive order goes on to argue that “[d]eteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter our country.”  Presumably, the goal is to reduce American deaths from terrorism on U.S. soil so the deadliness of terrorist attacks matters more than the number of terrorists.  For instance, 114 of the 154 foreign-born terrorists from 1975 to the end of 2015 didn’t kill anybody.  The three countries where the deadliest terrorists came to the United States from were Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.  Together they all accounted for 94.1 percent of all American deaths in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil committed by the foreign-born.  Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are not beset by any of the supposedly-terrorism increasing problems that are described in this order.  Egyptians account for 5.4 percent of all terrorist victims but their attacks occurred between 1993 and 2002 when Egypt was a more stable country than it is today.  The only exception to this might be Lebanon which accounts for 5.2 percent of all terrorist victims but nearly all of those were committed by Ziad Jarrah on 9/11 – a single data point.  Meanwhile, foreign-born people from Syria, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, and Yemen have not successfully killed anybody in a U.S. terrorist attack.

Trump’s executive order goes on to say that the United States “cannot, and should not, admit into our country those who do not support the U.S. Constitution.”  Virtually nobody in the world, including most Americans, supports the U.S. Constitution and it seems peculiar to block tourists who want to visit Disneyland from entering because they “do not support the U.S. Constitution.”  My guesses are that whoever wrote this executive order is either confused about the difference between immigrants and non-immigrants, it is just sloppily drafted, or this is an earlier draft.  Temporary visitors should not have to swear allegiance or express support for the Constitution any more than an American should have to swear allegiance to or express my support for monarchy when visiting the United Kingdom.  In terms of support for the Constitution, all that matters is that immigrants who naturalize take an oath to do so – as they are currently required to under U.S. law.

The order also directs the government to find a way to identify immigrants “with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission.”  Blocking immigrants who intend to commit crimes or terrorist attacks is a wonderful idea – so wonderful that the government already does it.  However, the line that seeks to identify those who “are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission” is hopelessly vague.  There is a risk greater than zero that virtually anybody is a risk subsequent to their admission so this type of broad, ill-defined dictate could theoretically screen out everybody.  More likely, it will just be used to capriciously target individuals for political or personal reasons.

A later line in the executive order provides some context for the “risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission” line.  It orders DHS to regularly publish “information regarding the number of foreign-born individuals in the Untied States who have been radicalized after entry into the United States and engaged in terrorism-related acts, or who have provided material support to terrorism-related organizations in countries that pose a threat to the United States.”  Presumably, DHS will use that information to build a detailed risk profile of immigrants to exclude those who could become radicalized.  One worrying term is “terrorism-related organizations.”  I couldn’t find any mentions or definition of a “terrorism-related organization” in U.S. law.  There are no mentions of “terrorism-related convictions” either.  If “terrorism-related organizations” is defined as broadly as “terrorism-related convictions” has been in Jeff Sessions’ terrorist list then many non-terrorist organizations will be included for flimsy reasons.  This is like the no-fly list but with far graver consequences.

The order also says there should be a “process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positive contributing member of society, and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest.”  The immigration law already does the former by excluding criminals, national security threats, and numerous other categories of excludable people while the broad immigrant and non-immigrant work visas supposedly identify which foreigners are most valuable.  At best this line in the executive order is redundant and at worst it signals the government’s intent to be even more involved in planning the labor market by selecting winners and losers through the immigration system.

The seven countries temporarily banned under this executive order represent a small percent of all green cards and entries into the United States (the latter estimated by I-94s per country).  In 2015, the government issued 52,365 green cards to immigrants born in those seven countries which amount to just 4.98 percent of all green cards issued that year and 29.4 percent of all green cards issued to nationals from Muslim countries (Table 2).  In the same year, there were 86,236 non-immigrant entries from those countries which accounted for 0.11 percent of all entries although they comprised 4.5 percent of all entries for Islamic countries (Table 2).

The economic cost of a temporary ban, or even a permanent one, is small because so few green cards and nonimmigrant visas are issued to folks from those seven countries.  However, the danger of terrorism on U.S. soil committed by citizens of those countries has also been very low historically with only 17 convictions from 1975 through 2015 and zero Americans killed in domestic attacks.  Future terrorists could come from different countries than terrorists did in the past but, based on current evidence, this ban is still a net loss because it will likely stop few terrorists, prevent zero deaths, and slightly reduce immigration and tourism.  All minor economic pain, no gain.

Table 2

Number of Green Cards and Entries per Country, 2015

Green Cards

Entries (I-94)

Iran

13,114

35,266

Iraq

21,107

21,381

Libya

734

2,879

Somalia

6,796

359

Sudan

3,580

4,792

Syria

3,840

16,010

Yemen

3,194

5,549

All Countries

1,051,031

76,638,236

Islamic Countries (OIC)

178,015

1,896,383

Source: Department of Homeland Security

If President Trump was committed to banning immigrants from certain countries in order to reduce the already small risk of terrorism on U.S. soil committed by the foreign-born then he would not just ban nationals from these seven countries.  For this reason, I expect his administration to expand the list of countries banned in the near future.  Section 3, subsections c, d, e, and f clarify that the president can extend these bans to other countries or make them permanent.  This is a warning about additional bans on migrants and immigrants to come as well as the process by which those bans will be enacted.

Posted on

New Legislation Establishes Orwellian Propaganda Agency

Our elected officials in Washington have a habit of passing the laws that the American people would probably most like to know about at times when very few are likely to see it.

On December 23rd of last year, while we the people were busy making preparations for the holidays, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 into law. Deep within this vast jungle of ink, paper, and legalese, lies a brand new federal agency created to combat what Hillary Clinton has called an “epidemic of fake news and malicious false propaganda.”

Enter the Global Engagement Center

Sandwiched in the middle of the 969-page Act, we find the production of the latest Department of State agency. The newly created Global Engagement Center is tasked with coordinating the Federal Government’s efforts to “understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation… aimed at undermining United States national security interests.”

This appears to be the government’s response to the as-yet unsubstantiated claims of “Russian hacking” that allegedly stole the election. No definition of what constitutes “propaganda and disinformation” or “national security interests” is given. In practice, these words can mean anything the Center would like them to mean.

Secret evidence is as good as no evidence, and no honest judge would accept it in a court of law. Supposedly, the Center will only be targeting propaganda from foreign sources. But given that our government does not hesitate to cast blame on other countries without providing evidence, there’s little reason to believe that American citizens with dissident views can’t be branded as foreign propaganda outlets.

Another highlight of the Act includes the stipulation that the Global Engagement Center will provide support for “the development and dissemination of fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda and disinformation directed at the United States and” its partners and allies.

Unless these “fact-based narratives” are based on solid evidence from reliable sources, they will amount to whatever the Center decides is true. If the recent behavior of US intelligence agencies is any indication of what to expect, the only evidence will come in the form of anonymous sources from classified reports.

Secret evidence is as good as no evidence, and no honest judge would accept it in a court of law. No one should accept it in the court of public opinion either.

That’s Not All

The NDAA also states that that the new agency will share “expertise among Federal departments and agencies.”

Translation: The Center will have access to the full might of the US intelligence apparatus and be in close cooperation with agencies such as the CIA and the NSA.

This new agency will also have the power to collect, what the U.S. Code defines as, any collection of information about an individual, “including, education, financial transactions… or other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a finger or voice print or a photograph.”

This record of personal information is intended for the purpose of researching foreign…

…propaganda and disinformation efforts and communications related to public diplomacy efforts intended for foreign audiences. Such research and data analysis shall be reasonably tailored to meet the purposes of this paragraph and shall be carried out with due regard for privacy and civil liberties guidance and oversight.”

Since US intelligence has set the precedent of making accusations without proving them, anything not of foreign origin could easily be contrived as such.

With this provision, everything about you is fair game to be gathered, researched, and analyzed to help the Center fight news and opinions that don’t fit their narrative. The latter part, which specifies communications “intended for foreign audiences,” does not read to me as a limitation, but rather an additional item to research and analyze, along with the foreign propaganda and disinformation efforts. Also, since US intelligence has set the precedent of making accusations without proving them, anything not of foreign origin could easily be contrived as such.

And the promise of “due regard for privacy and civil liberties guidance and oversight” seems like lip service. The bill gives no explanation of how this will be guaranteed and specifies no penalty for abuse of the powers it grants.

The Center is authorized to operate for eight years.

Notably, it is also authorized to financially support various groups, apparently of its own choosing, including “civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions.”

Art Reflects Life

Frankly, though I am not the first to say it, the Global Engagement Center reminds me of the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s 1984. Known as “Minitrue” in the novel, this agency was responsible for correcting past and present records of news media, entertainment, and the arts when they did not flatter the single ruling Party; the Party’s power rested largely on its ability to cover its mistakes and failures.

Like Minitrue, the Global Engagement Center’s mission is to promote the version of the news that it would like you to see – what Orwell called “goodthink” – with the bonus of keeping a detailed record of dissenters, contrarians, and anyone that questions the party line.

Our voices remain the most powerful weapons we have, and we can use them to make it very clear that we will continue to separate truth from fiction by our own judgment. Whether in writing, film, art, or spoken word, we must defend truth, our freedom of speech, and our right to think for ourselves like it’s a matter of life and death. Because, if you believe Orwell’s account it is.

Image by Abner Dean via Flickr (Creative Commons).

J. Jacob Dalen


J. Jacob Dalen

J. Jacob Dalen has over 19 years’ experience being a Millennial and enjoys writing without a license.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Posted on

Elizabeth Warren asks Obama to replace SEC’s Mary Jo White

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has asked President Barack Obama to replace SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White, despite two straight years of record-level enforcement actions by the agency.

In a letter to the president Friday morning, Ms. Warren focused on Ms. White’s “refusal to develop a political spending disclosure rule and repeated actions to undermine the agency’s mission of investor protection and the administration’s priorities.”

Ms. Warren, D-Mass., argues that the disclosure rule would increase transparency for investors by requiring companies to report political contributions.

“Congressional Democrats and the administration have strongly opposed a Republican rider in recent government funding bills that would prevent the SEC from issuing a rule requiring public companies to disclose political contributions,” she stated. “But Chair White herself has steadfastly refused to issue such a rule, despite overwhelming investor and public support for it.”

In her letter, Ms. Warren reminded the president that he “may designate a new SEC chair at any time from among the existing SEC commissioners.”

An SEC spokeswoman declined to comment on Ms. Warren’s 12-page letter, which suggests the battle is just getting started.

“Congressional Democrats will fight to remove the recently passed rider from December’s government funding legislation, and I urge you to threaten to veto any effort to extend this corrupt policy,” Ms. Warren wrote. “But these efforts will be meaningless as long as Chair White continues to control the agenda of the SEC.”

Even though Ms. Warren’s passion for increased regulatory oversight of the financial services industry has never been subtle, it might be missing the big picture, according to Todd Cipperman, principal at Cipperman Compliance Services.

“I think you’d have a hard time finding anyone in the investment management industry who would say Mary Jo White has been easy on the industry,” he said. “I think the industry views the SEC’s enforcement staff as being very tough, and [Ms. White] has a very significant enforcement record.”

For the fiscal year ending in September, the SEC brought a record 868 enforcement cases, beating the prior year’s record of 807 cases, including 160 against financial advisers and investment companies.

In her letter to the president, Ms. Warren describes Ms. White’s refusal to fall in line as “brazen conduct” and “merely the most recent and prominent example of Chair White undermining your administration’s priorities and ignoring the SEC’s core mission of investor protection.”

Amy Lynch, president of Frontline Compliance, described Ms. Warren’s comments as “a bit harsh, but I don’t think she’s ever been a fan of Mary Jo White.

“Sen. Warren is very pro-regulation, and she views Mary Jo White as being pro-industry,” Ms. Lynch said. “But there are lots of rules the commission has refused to act on, so I’m wondering why [Ms. Warren] is so focused on this one rule.”

Mr. Cipperman is not surprised by Ms. Warren’s dogged efforts to push the SEC toward tougher enforcement, and he thinks the financial services industry should brace for more of that kind of aggressive tone.

“I would think the industry would like to see the SEC acting like more of a traditional regulator, as opposed to something that operates as an enforcement body,” he said. “Enforcement actions have pushed the envelope on legal interpretations, but a more traditional regulator would give guidance, particularly when there’s no client harm. Ms. Warren is the complete other side of that. She’s suggesting that Mary Jo White is not hard enough on the industry.”

Even if Ms. Warren fails in her efforts to get Ms. White replaced at the SEC, Mr. Cipperman said financial advisers should expect more of the same from the left wing of the Democratic party.

“It is very concerning that you have this pressure on the SEC and on the president to appoint someone who will take the industry even more to task,” he said. “I think you’ll continue to see an uptick in this kind of pressure and enforcement, even if a Republican wins the White House.”