Monday, April 19, 2010

Republicans to Accept Bribes to Oppose Wall Street Reform

As you've probably heard, the Republican Senate Caucus is going to the mat to block Wall Street Reform from being passed:
The fate of financial reform in the Senate remains very much in flux tonight, with Democrats facing the stark reality that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has once again managed to unite his caucus in opposition to the Dems' top legislative initiaive. But Democrats remain determined to bring their bill up for a key test vote as early as Monday, and have statements from a number of Republican senators to point to as evidence that they will prevail sooner rather than later.
This seems like a popular issue. Politicians get to demonize Wall Street, tell their constituents all sorts of stories about Wall Street excess, tell them how irresponsible bankers flushed away millions of jobs and trillions of dollars and caused the greatest economic downturn in over 75 years...It seems like a win-win issue for any politicians who jumps on the regulatory bandwagon! Why in the world would anyone side with Wall Street for such a fight?

About 25 Wall Street executives, many of them hedge fund managers, sat down for a private meeting Thursday afternoon with two of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in Congress: Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and John Cornyn, the senior senator from Texas who runs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, one of the primary fundraising arms of the Republican Party.
[The Republican Leaders] also said that they have a shot at taking control of the House by adding 40 additional seats to their current total. In New York State alone, the senators predicted a six-seat pickup.
But in order to assure those gains, and add even more, McConnell and Cornyn made it clear they need Wall Street's help.
Again with the bribes. Republicans meet with bankers, and tell them that it would be a shame if Wall Street Reform were to pass. If only there was some way for these hedge-fund managers to show that they are serious about supporting the Republicans in the upcoming election.

The Democrats are, rightfully, pointing out this conflict:
Since Republicans appear to be conducting backroom negotiations with these same people who took our economy to the brink of collapse, the public deserves to know what secret deals and carve-outs Republicans are offering Wall Street executives in exchange for their support.
For some reason, though, they are reluctant to use the correct terminology here: When an elected official takes money in exchange for a favor, it's called a bribe.

Democrats aren't immune to this, either. Harry Reid and Chris Dodd have collected plenty of cash from Wall Street types over the years. Payments like that can't not have an effect on the legislation that they are now pushing through. Perhaps we need some rules in place to bar people from serving on or chairing committees that oversee the businesses of their biggest contributors.

Or, you know, maybe we should institute sensible campaign finance reform that ends this system of quid-pro-quo.


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