Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has introduced a new expansion of federal criminal law in S. 386, the Fraud Enforcement Recovery Act, which has already drawn a letter of opposition (PDF) signed by -- note well the interesting breadth of opposition -- both the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Heritage Foundation. An excerpt:
Among the over 4,450 criminal offenses already in federal law, Congress has already enacted all of the tools prosecutors need (and far more) to prosecute any criminal activity associated with the subprime market or the current financial crisis. In fact, analysis of the federal criminal code demonstrates that the federal government is sufficiently armed to prosecute any criminal conduct that has a federal nexus and may be related to the market crisis.
Relatedly, we've created a new post category, "Criminal Law and Prosecution", to reflect the site's longstanding interest in this area. We've begun to populate it with a selection of the site's extensive past coverage of episodes like the Justice Department's Thompson and McNulty memos, the Conrad Black, Enron Task Force and backdating prosecutions, the inappropriate use of criminal prosecution as a way of accomplishing essentially regulatory objectives, extraterritorial application of U.S. criminal law to overseas transactions, and many like topics.