Bank Whistleblowers United Issues Challenge To Presidential Candidates

NEWS ADVISORY
For Immediate Release to News Desks, Assignment Editors, Bookers and Reporters
Contact: Isaiah J. Poole, news@ourfuture.org, (202) 955-5665

WASHINGTON – Four prominent Wall Street whistleblowers – who have identified high-level wrongdoing by the nation’s largest financial institutions and the federal government – will announce on Thursday a challenge to the 2016 presidential candidates to pledge specific, common-sense actions to curb the financial sector’s corrupting influence on political campaigns and government regulators. They have proposed a detailed plan that requires no new legislation or rulemaking to restore the rule of law to Wall Street, end too-big-to-fail and restore the best features of the Glass-Steagall law that used to govern bank activities.

The four – William K. Black, Gary J. Aguirre, Richard Bowen and Michael Winston – have formed a new initiative called Bank Whistleblowers United. They will appear together at a news conference at 10 a.m. Thursday, February 25 hosted by the Campaign for America’s Future at its headquarters, 1825 K Street NW, Suite 400.

Bank Whistleblowers United has as its goal “to create urgent, fundamental changes to break Wall Street’s power over our economy and our democracy,” says Black, an associate professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri and a central player in exposing the “Keating Five” savings-and-loan scandal in 1989.

With the political power of the banking sector, and questions concerning over which candidates are likely to be beholden to that power, emerging as central issues in the 2016 presidential campaign, Bank Whistleblowers United will on Thursday unveil a pledge that it will ask each of the presidential candidates to sign. The pledge will include a vow to not accept campaign contributions from those banking institutions and executives engaged in fraudulent behavior during the runup to the 2008 financial crisis. They will also answer questions about why that pledge is important in the context of what has happened in the five years since the Dodd-Frank financial reforms were signed into law.

Brief bios of each of the founding members of Bank Whistleblowers United follow this advisory.

WHAT: Bank Whistleblowers United news conference
Featuring Gary J. Aguirre, William K. Black, Richard Bowen and Michael Winston

WHEN: 10 A.M. Thursday, February 25, 2016.

WHERE: Campaign for America’s Future
1825 K Street NW, Suite 400
Note: Reporters who cannot attend in person can participate by calling
(202) 955-5665, ext. 7099.

Members of Bank Whistleblowers United

Gary J. Aguirre is best known as the Securities and Exchange Commission attorney who, while heading an insider trading investigation of Pequot Capital Management, formerly the world’s largest hedge fund, resisted his supervisor’s demands to give preferential treatment to a Wall Street titan involved in the case. Fired for his so-called “insubordination,” Aguirre would prove to the satisfaction of two Senate committees, a federal court and three federal agencies that the SEC had acted unlawfully. In private practice, Aguirre represents whistleblowers and victims of securities fraud and market abuse. He has law degrees from U.C. Berkeley and Georgetown Law Center (LL.M.) and a master in Fine Arts (Film) from UCLA.

William K. Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) and the Distinguished Scholar in Residence for Financial Regulation at the University of Minnesota Law School. He is a white-collar criminologist. He rose to national prominence as a key figure exposing the “Keating Five” savings-and-loan scandal in 1989, in which five U.S. senators were found to have been involved in negotiating favors for Charles H. Keating, Jr., chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, in exchange for campaign contributions. His subsequent book, “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One,” is considered a classic analysis of corrupting influence of Wall Street on the federal government.

Richard Bowen is the Citigroup whistleblower who repeatedly warned Citi executive management, beginning in 2006, about potential losses related to the purchase and sale of mortgage loans. He provided testimony, along with 1,000 pages of documents, to the Securities and Exchange Commission in July 2008, three months before the bank bailouts. He also gave nationally-televised testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in April 2010. A “60 Minutes” story profiling Bowen, “Prosecuting Wall Street,” has been aired multiple times on CBS and CNBC. He is currently a professor of accounting at the University of Texas at Dallas and a popular speaker in the field of business ethics (www.RichardMBowen.com).

Michael Winston was a high-ranking executive at Countrywide Financial who tried to stop the fraud, corruption and deception he observed at the mortgage lender. His warnings were dismissed or ignored by management, and he was eventually fired. He subsequently took Countrywide and Bank of America to court, winning what the trial judge called an “overwhelming” jury verdict. Though the verdict was later thrown out by an appeals court, Winston’s legal fight was favorably chronicled by New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson in the article, “How A Whistleblower Conquered Countrywide.” Winston has served as Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Stichting deBaak (The Netherlands) for 16 years.

# # #