clock menu more-arrow no yes

Hillary Clinton: Take away executives' bonuses when their companies break the rules

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to guests at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Dinner on July 17, 2015, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to guests at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Dinner on July 17, 2015, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton wants executives to forfeit bonus money when their companies are fined for misconduct.

The frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination unveiled the proposal in a Facebook Q&A session Monday.

"Too often it seems like the people responsible get off with limited consequences (or none at all). Even when they’ve already pocketed the gains," Clinton said. "That's wrong and it has to change."

She laid out a three-part plan to do that.

1) Appoint and empower tough, independent-minded regulators and give them the resources they need to do their jobs.

2) Make sure that good people have real incentives to come forward and report illegal activity by raising the whistleblower caps so they're actually effective.

3) Make sure that when corporations pay fines to the government for wrongdoing, those fines cut into the bonuses of the executives who should have been accountable or should have caught the problem.

The proposals are part of Clinton's larger economic platform, which she has been constructing in piecemeal fashion in recent days. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that she wants to raise certain capital gains taxes in part to encourage long-term investment over short-term profits.

Under current law, whistleblower awards are capped at $1.6 million. Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who settled a slew of cases against banks, suggested increasing awards late last year.

Clinton did not get into the specific mechanisms she would use to empower regulators, boost compensation for whistleblowers, and penalize executives for corporate misbehavior. Congress would have to act in all three areas, as the Senate confirms regulators and both chambers write laws governing the finance industry.