Posts Tagged ‘Financial Regulation’


Today’s Financial Times reports that Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who plans to chair the House Committee on Financial Services, is urging watchdog agencies to ignore the law and let Wall Street run wild again – and with taxpayer money to boot.

Bachus wants the big banks to keep up the government-subsidized gambling that crashed the economy and cost millions of jobs. His position flatly contradicts the Volcker rule in the new Wall Street reform law, and it’s the wrong direction for the country.

If Bachus plans to take direction from Wall Street lobbyists and give the big banks more financial wrecking balls rather than make the economy work for ordinary Americans, we can expect more financial crises, more big bank bailouts and more lost jobs.

He should reconsider and commit himself to serving the public, not helping the likes of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs set new records for profits and bonuses.

David Arkush is director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

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A photo of Elizabeth Warren

Wall Street reform is on its way to becoming law. Most central to financial reform is the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It is one of the bill’s hardest won and most meaningful reforms. But whether the new bureau delivers on its promise depends in large part on who runs it. There’s no doubt who would be the most effective leader of the new bureau: Harvard law Professor Elizabeth Warren.

Warren first proposed the creation of a new consumer financial protection agency. And as head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, she has led the commission that has been the official group that has been the toughest – by far – on Wall Street. Because of her accomplishments and because we know she will fight for consumer rights, Public Citizen asks President Barack Obama to appoint Elizabeth Warren to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Ever since she was first mentioned in the discussion about Wall St. reform, the banks have been fighting against Warren’s appointment. They know she has both the will and the intelligence to effectively regulate them and they will put all their might behind a huge lobbying effort to stop her nomination and appointment. We have to use our own power as citizens to secure her appointment. Sign our petition to get Elizabeth Warren to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Seventeen banks that were receiving federal bailout money, funded by We, the Taxpayers, gave their executives $1.6 billion in bonuses for their job well done,  Treasury Department pay czar Kenneth Feinberg announced today. Yup. We, the Taxpayers, showered these Wall Street execs with $1.6 billion for crashing the financial sector and our economy.

Feinberg analyzed data from the 419 companies that received bailout money before pay curbs were enacted by Congress in February 2009.

From the Reuters story:

“There were 17 companies where the payments that were made during this window of about five months … were ill-advised,” Feinberg told reporters at a press conference.

“They weren’t illegal, they violated no statute, they violated no regulation,” he said, adding they reflected “bad judgment” but could not be termed “contrary to the public interest.”


“If the company’s board of directors has identified that the firm is in a crisis situation, the compensation committee would have the authority to restructure, reduce or cancel pending payments to executives — and this authority would supersede any rights and entitlements executives have in normal circumstances,” Feinberg said.

Feinberg will be speaking about these executive bonuses, as well as his work managing BP’s $20 billion escrow fund, at Public Citizen (1600 20th St. NW, Washington, D.C.) this coming Tuesday, July 27 from 12:30-1:30. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP by emailing bholzer@citizen.org.

Learn more about Public Citizen’s work on executive bonuses, and sign the petition to tax them.

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The army of “revolving door” lobbyists bidding for the financial services industry is even larger that we thought. After combing through Senate lobbying disclosure records, we reported in November that at least 940 lobbyists in the financial services sector.

This week, we partnered with the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) on an update to that report that included data from CRP’s in-house revolving doors database (catching lobbyists who do not report to their employment histories on their lobbying disclosure forms) as well as Senate records showing an additional two reporting quarters.

The result: At least 1,447 of the lobbyists employed by the financial services sector since 2009 previously held a government job. That is nearly 56 percent of the 2,603 lobbyists, all told, who worked for the sector in the time period.

Among these “revolving doors” are 73 former (more…)

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While we expected lobbyists for opponents of strong derivatives reform to have something to say about the legislation to reform the industry, maybe we didn’t expect them to come out with such fervor. Turns out they outnumber the pro-reform lobbyists by 11-1, a Public Citizen report found. That’s right, when it comes to financial reform, Wall Street has thrown 903 lobbyists against our 79. This means we have to work 11 times as hard to make sure We, the People are protected in this legislation. We could use your help. Take action.

From the press release:

“Wall Street is fighting hard to keep its casino open for business,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “They want to keep making risky bets, awarding themselves billions in bonuses and running to Uncle Sam for handouts when they lose. Their position is ridiculous and discredited, so it’s not surprising that they would hire nearly a thousand lobbyists to drown out reform advocates.”

Want to make sure your voice is heard when the Senate tries to rein in Wall Street? Sign the petition. Call your senators. Tell a friend. We can’t let Wall Street’s sheer man power overtake this much-needed overhaul of the abusive financial sector.

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It’s no secret that Public Citizen is against large banking institutions that are “too big to fail” – the corporations whose risky practices led to the crash of the financial industry.

While consumer activists have long been captivated with each ensuing step, trying to prevent the industry’s collapse from reoccurring, average movie-watchers are now getting a glimpse into the drama, as well.

HBO announced this month that it had bought the rights to New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin’s bestseller “Too Big To Fail: The Inside Story Of How Wall Street And Washington Fought To Save The System — And Themselves.”

As viewers across the nation tune in to the movie, Public Citizen calls on them to get involved and take a stand. Learn about financial reform and why we must push to get stronger protections in the reform legislation currently being debated on Capitol Hill. The proposals already announced do not do enough to protect consumers.

And just for fun, check out the Huffington Post’s casting choices for the HBO production.

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