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Wall Street and Their Purchased Representatives

Shelly Bernal
UnitedRe:public / News Report
Published: Saturday 12 May 2012
“In this 2012 election cycle alone, this industry has already donated $122 million to campaigns of members of Congress.”
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How is it that two years after passage of the much acclaimed Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform (four years after economic crash), Too Big To Fail (TBTF) institutions are not only bigger, but also too big to regulate and too big to jail? Don’t be fooled into believing that because a law has been passed by Congress and signed by the president, it has actually been implemented.

Keep in mind that Congress controls the funding for the federal regulators who are charged with carrying out the reform — Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities Exchange Commission. What would possess members of Congress, who bragged about banning banks from gambling with taxpayer money, to force regulators to strategically surrender significant rules by threatening budget cuts?

Answer: their livelihoods. Yes, the very livelihood of a member of Congress is indeed in the hands of the TBTF financial institutions. What better motivation is there than your career and financial future of your family? The financial sector is far and away the largest source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties, with insurance companies, securities and investment firms, real estate interests, and commercial banks providing the bulk of that money. In this 2012 election cycle alone, this industry has already donated $122 million to campaigns of members of Congress.

In addition to campaign contributions, this industry spends billions of dollars to lobby Congress. The tally since the financial collapse, 2009 – Q1 of 2012, for this industry is $1.5 billion. Do you think that over a billion dollars can influence members of Congress to threaten regulatory agencies with budget cuts? Of course the agencies are rewriting and redrafting and rehashing the most significant reform regulations until they are void of reform completely.

Linked very closely with lobbying is the high-income revolving door.  Practically every industry hires lobbyists to represent and defend their interests in Washington, D.C. But some industries specialize in employing those who previously worked for the federal government they’re now tasked with lobbying. Open Secrets has profiled 826 people who passed through the golden revolving door into this particular industry, capitalizing on the connections that they forged while in public service. Could these connections assist in influencing financial reform legislation?

Although Congress wields power over the legislative process and thus, the non-implementation of Wall Street reforms, the White House wields power over the law enforcement process. What would possess a President, who proclaimed loudly that those causing the economic crisis would be held accountable, to not hold TBTF accountable?  Answer: his livelihood. Apparently during our last presidential election, Obama had convinced TBTF that he would play by their rules better than his rival, John McCain, because by the end of January 2008, Obama had raised well over $7 million from the securities and investment industry. All told, Obama far outraised McCain on Wall Street — around $16 million to $9 million — and Goldman Sachs executives sent Obama more money than employees of any other company in the world. This presidential election, however, Romney has convinced TBTF that he will play by their rules better than Obama because at the end of January this year, Obama had only $2.4 million from Wall Street (compared to $7 million last time).

The very game Obama played so well in 2008 is now playing him with the opposing party putting up a shoe-in for Wall Street. Unfortunately, Obama did follow through on his commitment for those earlier campaign contributions. The top leadership appointed at the Department of Justice was drawn almost exclusively from law firms that represented the institutions that DOJ was supposed to be investigating. Covington and Burling, the firm from which both Attorney General Eric Holder and Associate Attorney General and head of the criminal division Lanny Breuer hail, has as its current clients Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, ING, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and MF Global among others. The work at Covington involves defending employees at TBTF institutions from prosecution by the federal government.  As Attorney General, Eric Holder was supposed to represent the federal government in prosecuting employees at TBTF institutions, who could have been defended by Covington. In other words, Obama made it clear to Wall Street in January 2009 that their empires were thus joined through an incestuous marriage. Holder’s loyalty to TBTF will be handsomely rewarded too. White collar criminal defense work, like that he performed at Covington and Burling, is “enormously lucrative” for large legal firms. Eric Holder left Covington with a $2.5 million salary and a seven figure bonus. If he returns to Covington (as two of his colleagues at Justice already have) a similar payday certainly awaits him. He would have been permanently banished from his “circle” and banned from his career if he had prosecuted TBTF while at the DOJ.

With members of Congress controlling the rule-making process and the White House controlling the law enforcement, and Wall Street money controlling both, TBTF can continue being bigger than too big to fail, as well as too big to regulate and too big to jail. After years of wrangling, the TBTF Wall Street institutions win the war against capitalism and the free market. These are the only financial institutions that get to keep the upside of their bets, no matter how reckless, but get to stick others, mostly the taxpayers, with the downside of any losses. They aren’t allowed to fail even if they are bankrupt and their management runs them into the ground. When any of the other banks in our economy fail, they get taken over, lose their jobs, and shareholders lose their wealth. Capitalism died and we got an aristocracy of TBTF Wall Street and their elected/bought representatives.

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ABOUT Shelly Bernal

Shelly Bernal fights everyday to improve society by changing the rules to the game. She often goes by the pseudonym Street Justice because she doesn't believe it is the duty of others – police, courts, politicians, religious leaders – to monitor the average citizens. Justice is the absolute obligation of each and every one of us through personal responsibility to our community. We must bring justice back to our streets through individual action – engagement in our communities, participation in our democracy and dedication to improving our society.

Ron Paul, the single

Ron Paul, the single candidate who refused this type of funding that all the other candidates accepted was effectively blacklisted by the American media.
This fix was in.
The choice between an Obama and a Romney is in reality no choice whatsoever.
Voting no longer appears to be a controlling factor in the direction America takes.

When the Obama Administration

When the Obama Administration started defending these criminals the President should have been called out.

When his DOJ failed miserably, Democrats should have said, "Mr. President, hold on there. The Democratic Party holds criminals accountable."

Instead, the more liberal Democrats were cast out and abused. The Democratic Party moved to the right and took the place of the old Republican Party in their zeal for deregulation and acceptance of "looking forward".

Now, Obama, no doubt on the advice of his inner circle, came out in favor of marriage equality. I don't like the flavor of my dog biscuit.

The alternative is Mitt Romney? Really? TPTB have this country by the ass.

I guess they want to push us until there is no choice but violence. Then THEIR police force can simply shoot us down to get rid of the more aggressive sheep.

When bribery is legalized and

When bribery is legalized and the bribers are called lobbyists, it is so civilized.

Why do we fight to bring

Why do we fight to bring democracy aroung the world. So that multi-national corporations can take them over and usurp their power. Dictators aren't so usurpable.
There came a time with multiple religious sects that Kings could not fool the people they ruled by God's will(which one?). So another process was conceived whereby people were deceived into thinking they have a voice while in reality the powerful institutions of society.. the military-industrial-missionary-university research and think tank complex. The political system is a payoff and extortion system both and it fuels the propaganda system with its 24/7 political media spending. And it runs on culture war and personality typing differentiation and applies it to all kinds of trivial and sometimes very real diversions in style and rhetoric like good cop bad cop routines..

Classic "Who You Know", NOT

Classic "Who You Know", NOT "What You Know."

Quid Pro Quo -- Did the cop on the beat (bank regulator) sell his soul to the Devil and the crooks (big banks) and look the other way while the thieving was taking place?!


Obama refuses to look back

Obama refuses to look back and criminally prosecute his thieving Wall Street "Savvy Businessmen" billionaire buddies.
The Rule of Law in this country was murdered by Obama and Holder.

Obama's Dept. of Homeland Security militarized the police and instructed 17 big city mayors in a conference phone call to have their police forces violently suppress the Occupy Movement to suppress public criticism of the Wall Street megafraud.

The Wall Street thieves (Obama's Wall Street "Savvy Businessmen" buddies) have received several secret trillion doallar bailouts under Obama since the $770 billion TARP bailout 0n 9-16-08 under Bush/Cheney.

Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act giving the US military the right to police the country and kill Americans on American soil -- fascism is formally here courtesy of Obama and Congress.
(This makes the Patriot Act tame in comparison.).

It's reaching a point where

It's reaching a point where "comments" become meaningless. The new Plutocracy has us psyched out. It's a crying shame that ad agencies and PR firms go along with it, but they must or they will be out of business. History shows that what follows a Plutocracy is Fascism. We can already see this in the form of privatized prisons, local law enforcement receiving incredibly heavy armament (to protect whom from whom?) and soon, the privatization of war. I think I will start posting cute things from Reader's Digest.

Very perceptive,

Very perceptive, moreaboutthat.

Here we are fighting these expensive, unproductive wars clear around the world while the real enemy is right here on our shores destroying the nation.

Yeah. You might as well post cute little articles from Readers Digest. I understand your sentiments.

On a positive note every call this morning on C-Span's Washington Journal, from both political parties, are for reining in Wall Street abuse. There is a lot of anger on display.

The people have had their fill of this bullshit.

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