Posts Tagged ‘wall street’

If you’ve seen the Obama administration’s financial regulatory proposals, formally released today, you might be a bit overwhelmed. The 85-page document details many different elements deemed necessary for financial reform, including the creation of a strong Consumer Financial Regulatory Agency, new rules to prevent predatory and reckless lending, and much more.

But none of these reforms can take place with the current attitudes of the banking industry and Wall Street. Even Sen. Dick Durbin (D- Ill.) has said:

“The banks are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”

Even as it gets trillions of taxpayer dollars in bailouts, the industry that got us into this economic mess is lobbying as hard as ever against real reform. Never mind that Bank of America, after taking $45 billion of our money, spent $10 million on a five-day Super Bowl party. Never mind that AIG, after taking over $170 billion of our money, handed out $165 million in bonuses, including millions to traders who contributed to the company’s collapse.

That’s why Public Citzen has banded together with nearly 200 other organizations, ranging from financial experts to community advocates, to form Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition dedicated to changing the dynamic that has been in place too long where Wall Street bankers write the rules for themselves. Together, we’re calling on Congress and the Obama administration to put in place a strong watchdog structure with the resources and authority to keep Wall Street in check and protect our financial security. Our ultimate goal is to achieve reforms that keep people in their homes and prompt smart investment in communities and businesses that create good jobs and strong neighborhoods.

Want to get involved? Sign our petition demanding transparency, oversight, and accountability in the financial industry. We must remind our representatives in Washington that the bankers on Wall Street never again have so much control over—and so little concern for—the citizens of Main Street.

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Our report on the fundraising efforts of the Presidential Inaugural Committee was quoted extensively by bloggers and media outlets. David D. Kirkpatrick cited it in his piece today in The New York Times:

But inaugural planners say that staging their own exclusive show to reward top fund-raisers was necessary to pay for the even grander spectacle they are presenting to the public, given the novel fund-raising restrictions Mr. Obama imposed on the committee. Unlike any previous president-elect, he refused contributions from corporations, unions or lobbyists, and capped individual donations at $50,000 instead of allowing $250,000 or more.

That forced planners to depend far more on inaugural “bundlers” like Mr. Sacca, people who tapped rich networks of friends and associates to collect up to $300,000 each, another limit Mr. Obama set. Of the $41 million raised by the committee, more than 70 percent came from just 211 “bundlers,” according to the watchdog Public Citizen.

Politico’s Kenneth Vogel quoted Public Citizen ethics expert Craig Holman for his story about donors footing the inaugural bill:

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The election is over, but our work has just begun.

We must roll up our sleeves to reverse some of the damaging policies enacted over the past eight years. We have a chance to make real change happen. But we need your help.

We’ve have waited so long for an administration that is willing to promote an agenda for people – not corporations. Now, we have the best opportunity in a decade to put government back on the side of the people. Join us in making our “Citizens’ Agenda” a priority in 2009 and beyond so we can:

  • Put homeowners ahead of CEOs in the massive Wall Street/auto industry bailout
  • Clean up government by breaking ties between lawmakers and big corporate dollars and lobbyists
  • Boost wages, ensure import safety and protect the environment by replacing the failed NAFTA/WTO trade model
  • Create green jobs and stabilize the economy with clean, sustainable and renewable energy
  • Ensure safety of toys, pharmaceuticals and other products
  • And more

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The U.S. Senate had the opportunity this week to listen to the American people and craft a financial bailout package that would have provided meaningful relief, not only to our ailing financial institutions, but to taxpayers and homeowners who are suffering, in a large part, because of the greed of those very same institutions. Unfortunately, senators didn’t seem to get the message.

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