Voters Want The Banks Reined In

Isaiah J. Poole

House members should beware when bank lobbyists come calling: Ceding to their wishes might get you campaign cash but it will likely cost you the next election.

That’s the message of a new poll released today by Celinda Lake and done for Americans for Financial Reform. That poll says that two-thirds of voters in “Blue Dog” or conservative Democratic districts and those in politically competitive Democratic districts support the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency with the teeth “to enforce a strong set of rules” for banks and financial services businesses.

When asked how a Congress member’s vote against a Consumer Financial Protection Agency would affect their vote for that member on the next election, 41 percent of those surveyed said such a vote would make them less likely to re-elect that member, while only 14 percent said that they would be more likely to vote for an anti-CFPA member.

Roughly 60 percent of voters in these districts also favor strong controls on derivatives, the exotic financial products that caused the collapse or near-collapse of several large Wall Street institutions. These voters said they want these “complex financial transactions [to] happen on an open marketplace that is subject to oversight.”

Despite these poll results, the legislation currently being considered today by the House Financial Services Committee to create the consumer protection agency and to regulate derivatives is moving in the opposite direction of what a majority of voters demand. Robert Borosage’s post on Tuesday outlines the problems: the consumer protection proposal has been stripped down at the behest of the banking lobby, and the derivatives legislation is widely derided as being weaker than current law.

Borosage goes into more detail today at The Huffington Post, and adds this message:

Backroom deals are no longer safe. Americans have been fleeced of trillions in the value of their homes and their savings because of Wall Street’s reckless excesses. Then as taxpayers, they were extorted to ante up literally trillions more to forestall economic collapse by bailing out the banking sector. Insult was added to that injury when the Federal Reserve refused to tell the Congress who got the money and on what terms.

Legislators would be well advised to understand the cozy old ways of doing business are no longer acceptable. Americans are livid and paying attention. Legislators who rely on Wall Street to finance their campaigns and then lead the effort to block or dilute reforms will discover that their constituents know what they have been up to.

Americans for Financial Reform is urging people who support a real crackdown on derivatives and a Consumer Financial Protection Agency with teeth to contact these members of the House Financial Services Committee and House Democratic leadership:

  • Melissa Bean, D-Ill.
  • Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa.
  • Dennis Moore, D-Kan.
  • Gregory W. Meeks, D-N.Y.
  • Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.
  • Charley Wilson, D-Ohio
  • Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.
  • Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
  • Bill Foster, D-Ill.
  • Walt Minnick, D-Idaho
  • Mary Jo Kilroy, D-Ohio
  • Ron Klein, D-Fla.
  • Travis W. Childers, D-Miss.
  • Steve L. Driehaus, D-Ohio
  • Jim Himes, D-Conn.
  • Gary Peters, D-Mich.
  • Dan Maffei, D-N.Y.
  • John Adler, D-N.J.
  • Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y. (not a member of the committee, but is chief deputy whip and is the chairman of the New Democrat Coalition.)

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