May 19, 2012

Goldman Sachs Is Paying Dick Gephardt’s Lobbying Firm To Weaken Financial Regulations

Gephardt swore an oath to the Constitution, but Goldman Sachs pays more.

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi released a new article last week where he laid out how Wall Street is at work undermining the toughest provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law passed last year. Taibbi writes:

The fate of Dodd-Frank over the past two years is an object lesson in the government’s inability to institute even the simplest and most obvious reforms, especially if those reforms happen to clash with powerful financial interests. From the moment it was signed into law, lobbyists and lawyers have fought regulators over every line in the rulemaking process. Congressmen and presidents may be able to get a law passed once in a while – but they can no longer make sure it stays passed. You win the modern financial-regulation game by filing the most motions, attending the most hearings, giving the most money to the most politicians and, above all, by keeping at it, day after day, year after fiscal year, until stealing is legal again. “It’s like a scorched-earth policy,” says Michael Greenberger, a former regulator who was heavily involved with the drafting of Dodd-Frank. “It requires constant combat. And it never, ever ends.”

Greenberger’s quotation is very important. Any law passed by the U.S. Congress only works if regulators make sure it is well-implemented. Wall Street is fighting very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen — which will likely lead to more catastrophes like JP Morgan’s stunning multi-billion dollar loss recently.

In order to win these regulatory fights, Wall Street has to enlist well-connected lobbyists, often former government insiders, to overwhelm federal regulators. Lobbying disclosures released last month show that one of the most nefarious megabanks — Goldman Sachs — has enlisted none other than the firm of former Democratic Party House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt.

Disclosures show that Janice O’Connell — herself a beneficiary of the revolving door, having formerly worked for Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), the chief Senate author of the Dodd-Frank bill — of Gephardt’s firm was paid $30,000 lobbying the federal government on the implementation of the financial reform law.

When Gephardt launched his failed bid for the presidency in 2003, he explained why he was running for office:

“My dad was a milk truck driver, a proud member of the Teamsters. My mother was a secretary.  Neither of my parents finished high school.  They didn’t have much money.  But they saved what they could – five, ten dollars a week – so I could get an education and live out my dreams.  I want to dedicate this day to my mother Loreen and my late father, Lou Gephardt.  This campaign is for them — and for all who seek and strive to do right by their kids.  They’re the true American heroes; they’re the people I’m fighting for.

It seems like Gephardt has put aside the interests of truck drivers and secretaries like his parents. Goldman Sachs pays better.
  • mary

    If corporate control was more democratic then the CEO-tyrants would loose at least some of their power. Germany has a coalition of worker representation, owner representation and management running their corporations which has meant less extremes in CEO pay and CEO power. In order for this to happen in the US, we need to consider changes in corporate charter law at the state level, and greater democracy at the workplace. Right now, workers for corporations lack free speech rights with the exception of some safeguards for whistle blowers in the Sarban-Oxley bill. Workers need to talk to each other as a first step to reclaiming some power over decision making and ability to stop the madness. I am in the process of creating a new website called to give workers a voice (albeit an anonymous one).

  • Impressive reporting connecting O’Connell from Sen. Dodd to Gephardt’s firm and then back again – perfect example of revolving door. This economic crisis has highlighted what is wrong with our government – the influence of money at every turn. We citizens still have the power to change our gov. and through social media platforms like this we are joining together and will make a difference!

  • Beth1506

    This is just one more reason to stop former “public servants” from being able to lobby. It just goes to show you that some congressman were always in it for power & money & were never really interested in serving the public.

  • We are never going to change the status quo unless we a can coalesce our desire to change this plutocracy, to a true democracy, by uniting under a new 3rd party. I encourage all who care, to join me and join the Justice Party, and support Rocky Anderson for President.

    • mary

      Just running a third party candidate doesn’t really help without the difficult work of building a base or coalition or culture of support. People are organizing around congresspersons and candidates like Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren who are committed to ending corruption. I think it makes sense to join forces behind politicians like these, and simultaneously build a social or worker movement to get people excited and organized to press for broad changes.

  • Tillotson

    I’m shocked, shocked that gambling is going on in Wall Street.

    Seriously, is this a surprise to anyone? How exactly have we gotten ourselves into this mess if not thru corruption and fraud of that 1% at the top?

  • Cyber Tracer

    Republicans are only interested in getting your vote. They do not represent middle class, working class and the poor. Remember the 2010 shellacking of the democrats? Middle class, working class and poor people gave these thugs the power to hold America hostage. Right now, John Boehner is waving the deficit reduction flag again…NO NEW REVENUE. He’s spotlighting Greece as an example of what could happen to America if GOP doesn’t get its way on the deficit reduction issue.

    Republicans have pledged their allegiance to Grover Reinquist…never, ever raise taxes on the rich. Mitt Romney’s tax-for-the-rich plan would increase the deficit by 5 trillion dollars. Middle class, working class, and the poor will pay.

    This storm began with NAFTA and progressed through legal immigration (imported workers replacing American workers at Microsoft, HP, and Apple), outsourcing, etc…you get the picture, right? Now, it’s Citizens United and ALEC’s messy laws.

    I predict an end to America and democracy as we know it with a GOP win on November 6, 2012. The economy will crash during Mitt Romney’s administration, and the government will no longer be able to meet its obligations. Currently, Corporations are stashing trillions of dollars in offshore accounts and in foreign governments. Corporations are not repatriating their profits…another revenue loss.

    Corporations and the rich are already controlling America. It began with NAFTA during the Clinton administration. Legal immigration stripping the middle class of high salary jobs (union busting). It is estimated that 200,000 jobs are lost annually through legal immigration.

    • CatKinNY

      This process began long before NAFTA. It began in the late 70’s, but really gained momentum under Reagan, the Happy Union Buster and Deregulator in Chief. NAFTA is not responsible for all those B1 visa holders at the high tech companies, either, but it did suck a lot of jobs down to Mexico for a few years, most of which subsequently decamped for the even cheaper labor of China. If the GOP does take everything in Nov, it’ll only be a matter of time before 20% of the population is living on the street. After that, it’ll only be a matter of time before there is a revolution, and this one will look French.

  • HopefulAmerican

    Gebhardt would lobby against mother’s day and apple pie AND the US Constitution if someone was willing to pay him enough. He reports to ONLY the money on the table.

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