In an on-camera interview, which aired recently, Breuer stated plainly that some financial institutions are too large and too complex to be held accountable before the law. …

Attorney General Eric Holder expressed similar views in the context of discussing why more severe charges weren’t brought against Zurich-based UBS AG last year for manipulating the London interbank offered rate. And Neil Barofsky, a onetime senior prosecutor and former inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program that administered the bank bailouts, provided a scathing assessment of Justice Department policy. …

Justice recently asked Treasury for its view on prosecuting a large financial institution. Yet David Cohen, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told the New York Times: “We did not believe we were in a position to offer any meaningful assessment. The decision of how the Justice Department exercises its prosecutorial discretion is solely theirs and Treasury had no role.” And it would seem that then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner didn’t meet with Holder on this issue. …

The line of questioning from Brown and Grassley is compelling. Is there a written list of too-big-to-jail banks, or is that status conferred on the fly? Are there objective criteria that could be reviewed by the Government Accountability Office or another responsible government body? …

Judging from its record, the Justice Department will probably do everything in its power to avoid answering these questions directly.