fresh voices from the front lines of change







Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.C., is almost certain to be chairman of the Senate Banking Committee next year, once current chair Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is out of office. Johnson has never had a good reputation with consumer advocates, in large part because he’s opposed nearly every piece of legislation designed to thwart predatory lending.

That perspective is not likely to change with his chairmanship. Johnson just hired a top bank lobbist named Dwight Fettig to be a “senior policy adviser.” Fettig’s clients included some of the chief scumbags that wrecked the economy, secured epic bailouts, and opposed financial reform: the American Bankers Association, JPMorgan Chase, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers and the Vanguard Group hedge fund. Prior to peddling influence on behalf of the too-big-to-fail gang, he was the top “government relations” man at Freddie Mac. During the housing bubble.

By hiring Fettig, Johnson is sending the clearest signal possible to Wall Street: I’ve got your back.

This isn’t Fettig’s first trip through the revolving door. Before entering the bank lobby, he worked as a Johnson aide in the House.

So the bad news is, Congress is totally corrupt. The good news? It already was.


And hey! Obama’s former Budget Director Peter Orszag just joined Citigroup! It’s really pretty sick. The Republicans just spent an entire year promising to give Wall Street whatever they wanted on anything, but the public still thinks it’s the Democrats alone who are in bed with Wall Street. This is why.

This also is not the Office of Management and Budget’s first turn through the revolving door this year. The current director, Jack Lew, made $1 million running Citi’s Alternative Investments unit into the ground.

The political optics here are just horrible. Obama is pushing a tax cut deal that provides huge benefits for the super-rich . . . as his former budget director take a job as Vice Chairman at Citigroup, thus joining the ranks of the super-rich.

Merry Christmas, Wall Street.

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