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Occupy the SEC’s Goldstein Exposes Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Banker-Favoring Ways

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As we pointed out, the representative from the Upper East Side, Carolyn Maloney, in being maneuvered into position in an effort to displace Maxine Waters, who would otherwise become either the ranking member or the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, depending on which party wins this fall. The idea of Waters, who is acutely skeptical of bankers and not afraid of making a ruckus, having even more influence on a key committee is something financiers are keen to stop. (Full disclosure: I’m a Waters fan simply by virtue of her remark: “The Tea Party can go to hell. I intend to help them get there.”)

This is typical of the bank lobbyist line on Waters:

“Most of the international banks would start folding their tents” if Ms. Waters were to became chair of the committee, said John Allen James, the executive director of Pace University’s Center for Global Governance, Reporting and Regulation and a former consultant for McKinsey. “She is anti-bank. She doesn’t like anybody that wears a suit and a tie. She yells at them, and says why aren’t you doing more to address the housing problem, why aren’t you doing more to raise the boats of the less fortunate. It is a total misunderstanding of what capitalism is.”

The idea that allies of the banking industry can claim these wards of the state bear any resemblance to capitalist enterprises shows that they are either shameless liars or completely divorced from reality.

By contrast, it is pretty hard to imagine that Carolyn Maloney would do anything that would seriously inconvenience her constituency, which is chock full of top Wall Street earners. But since she is part of the Democratic Party, and the Democrats are going through the motions of being tough on Wall Street, she has to make credible-looking reform gestures.

On Sunday, Alexis Goldstein, one of the lead authors of the well-received Volcker Rule letter by Occupy the SEC and Bill Black faced off against Maloney on the Chris Hayes show. The focus was the Jumpstart Obama’s Bucket Shops Act, which pretty much everyone who knows anything about securities markets, including the head of the SEC, Mary Shapiro. hates. (Note Alexis was NOT speaking as a representative of Occupy the SEC but in a personal capacity).

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You need to watch the full segment to get the effect, but Maloney starts out by saying that the JOBS Act probably won’t create many jobs, but she was nevertheless getting complaints about how costly it was for “small” businesses to hire auditors (earth to base, if they are public, they would not qualify as “small” in most people’s book). Goldsmith devastates Maloney with her command of the bill, pointing out that it covers companies of up to $1 billion in revenues, that the tech companies its backers keep invoking have VC firms ready and willing to invest, and the new format well be used by PE firms flipping companies they had taken private back to public investors. By the end, Maloney is telling Goldsmith to send her suggestions for improved legislation and she’ll put it forward (I’ll believe her sincerity when I see action).

As an aside, Goldstein’s schoolgirl look is fantastic protective coloring. I’m sure the people who are up against her have no idea about what is going to hit them until it it too late.

I want to focus on another issue, though, the way Maloney gives a completely misleading stump speech on how gung ho she is on derivatives reform. This is an overview of the issue, from the New York Times late last year (emphasis mine):

Dodd-Frank requires it to oversee so-called swap execution facilities that will trade or process derivatives transactions. Late last year, in the interest of price transparency, the commission proposed that entities applying to be S.E.F.’s must agree to provide market participants with the ability to post prices on “a centralized electronic screen” that is widely accessible. One-to-one dealings by phone would no longer be allowed.

Those on Wall Street who favor the status quo are upset, and have found some sympathy in Washington.

Representative Scott Garrett , a New Jersey Republican, has teamed up with Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat, to introduce the Swap Execution Facility Clarification Act. It would bar the Securities and Exchange Commission and the C.F.T.C. from requiring swap execution facilities to have a minimum number of participants or mandating displays of prices. Both mechanisms promote transparency…

Because Mr. Garrett opposed Dodd-Frank, his efforts to stop the proposed rule are not surprising. But Ms. Maloney supported Dodd-Frank, so I wondered why she had lent her name to the bill.

In an interview last Wednesday, Ms. Maloney said she had heard concerns about the C.F.T.C. rule from financial firms in her district. “I just felt like that Congress intended multiple competing trade execution platforms and that included voice,” she said. “If you say you can’t have any voice, aren’t you limiting the modes of trade execution?” She also said she was concerned about job losses on Wall Street.

At the end of the segment above, Maloney says she was for regulation and tried supporting Brooksley Born on trading commodities on exchanges. Goldstein pounces on her and asks why she is sponsoring a bill that would water down Dodd Frank on precisely that issue. Contrast this speechifying with her co-sponsorship of the bill. See this extract:

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For more of the pros and cons of pre trade price transparency, see this post. What I find most interesting is the closing comment is that the debate is serving to drive more OTC dealers out of the business and to regulated futures exchanges. That’s a terrific outcome if you are in favor of more transparency and less systemic risk.

Matthews tried revisting the topic after the break, but he spent over 2 minutes explaining the issue and Maloney then ran the clock out.

The bottom line here is that anyone who supported the heinous JOBS Act and fronts for bank efforts to water down an already not-strong-enough Dodd Frank is clearly balancing her constituents’ interests to favor those with the biggest checkbooks. And it isn’t hard to guess who they are.

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16 comments

  1. Glen

    I was glad Alexis Goldstein and Bill Black were on the show. They called Rep. Maloney quite a few times on misstatements “cough cough” lies.

  2. duffolonious

    Isn’t this Chris Hayes (not Matthews)?

    In any case this is nice seeing people like Black and Goldstein getting their arguments out has.

    Would Mathews actually have them as guests?

    1. Faux Protest

      Chris Hedges? Dodd-Frank mandatory Visa cards and other Bankster friendly deregulations? I’ll buy that for a dollar.

  3. Woodrow Wilson

    “It is a total misunderstanding of what capitalism is.” -

    You mean government deciding winners and losers, and certain entities go bankrupt for profit isn’t?

  4. John Regan

    All due respect to everyone here and Bill Black and Ms. Goldstein, this is a forest-trees problem.

    Black is so correct that it’s fraud that needs to be addressed. He is so incorrect that fraud is addressed through “regulation”. Fraud is at least a civil, and often a criminal wrong. It is addressed through litigation, civil or criminal, not regulators.

    I often say on my blog that we’re looking at a rule of law crisis, not so much a “financial crisis”:

    http://strikelawyer.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/gold-standard-ii/

    Notice that I was alluding to the 99% and the 1% month before the “occupy” movement existed. This is also a more fundamental aspect of the problem, as Bill Black is aware because he talks about the fraud being “endemic” and at the highest levels of the finance “industry”.

    You will never address this problem through regulation. And the base of it, the reason fraud is apparently endemic, is that the “money” itself – the “dollar”, that is – is inherently a fraud. It’s an illusory promise, known to be illusory by the promissors. You can fix everything else (or try to) but if you don’t fix that you’re just going to set up the next crisis, because the system teaches fraud, institutionalizes fraud. IS fraud.

    1. alex

      “Black … is so incorrect that fraud is addressed through ‘regulation’. Fraud is at least a civil, and often a criminal wrong.”

      If ever there was anyone in favor of criminal prosecutions for fraud it’s Bill Black. He helped obtain over 1000 criminal convictions (largely for control fraud) in the aftermath of the S&L crisis. He helped write the case law book on prosecuting control fraud.

      So he’s also in favor of good regulation. Is that a problem? I see it as a belt-and-suspenders approach to a problem that has no silver bullet.

    2. Kukulkan

      Given that the context was a discussion of the JOBS Act, I think the regulations being talked about are the ones that define what is (and isn’t) a civil or criminal wrong.

      Essentially, as far as I can tell, de-regulation is basically de-criminalising a whole bunch of activities so they can no longer be prosecuted, thus removing the possibility of legal remedies.

      1. alex

        You’re right, but I wonder why they even bother worrying about “deregulation”, since the SEC, DoJ, etc. don’t bother to enforce existing laws and regulations. If you’re above the law, what difference does it make what the law is?

  5. sissy

    The problem of course is that we have a one party system, not a two party system. The Democrats and the Republicans are simply trading their power back and forth with each other. Both parties are beholden to the whoever in Congress supports the Military, supports the money that we as a nation pay to the military, so what difference does it make which party is in at any given time? The Health care plan was exactly the same way. What happened is that, in the end both parties have agreed to most everything, except the Republicans who pretend to hate it so much. That is laughable. The Health care plan supports the drug industry and the drug companies in our country. The reason we are at endless war in the Middle east it because both parties want us to be there, period. I believe it was Gore Vidal who said, that American has a one party system, and unfortunately Mr. Vidal is correct. I wish it were not so, but all evidence points to the contrary in our government these days. The Federal Reserve is in fact nothing more than an arm of Wall Street. It always has been. The people who crashed our economy are laughing all the way to the bank as our homes sit idle in many parts of our nation. It’s very sad to me to see this happening, it truly is.

    Sissy

    .

  6. sissy

    The problem of course is that we have a one party system, not a two party system. The Democrats and the Republicans are simply trading their power back and forth with each other. Both parties are beholden to the whoever in Congress supports the Military, supports the money that we as a nation pay to the military, so what difference does it make which party is in at any given time? The Health care plan was exactly the same way. What happened is that, in the end both parties have agreed to most everything, except the Republicans who pretend to hate it so much. That is laughable. The Health care plan supports the drug industry and the drug companies in our country. The reason we are at endless war in the Middle east it because both parties want us to be there, period. I believe it was Gore Vidal who said, that American has a one party system, and unfortunately Mr. Vidal is correct. I wish it were not so, but all evidence points to the contrary in our government these days.

    Sissy

  7. ep3

    what a prudish lady. she’s very obvious when she gets pissed at the other girl.

    I thought the money quote was “it’s very hard taking on big financial interests”. from maloney.

  8. Ed

    I’ve said this early, but Maloney’s district probably has the highest concentration of people who work in financial services in the country.

    In the past, you would probably want someone from such a district as the point person on banking and financial issues. Compared to other congresspeople, they would have to have had to at least employ staff members knowledgable about the financial industry. The problem is the degree to which financial firms have become purely predatory. From a public policy standpoint, you now want hostility (of course we are getting the exact opposite).

    Incidentally, Maloney’s district is the successor to the old “silk stocking district”. It used to be the one reliable Republican district in New York City, but now votes Democratic by large margins. It has expanded to take in working class areas in Queens, but even in the precints of the older, smaller, district Obama pulled over 70%.

  9. Mickey Hickey

    The Democrats and Republicans may be tweedle dum and tweedle dee but Goldstein is a rare pearl.

  10. Shingaling

    Maxine Waters voted against the Paul-Grayson Audit the Fed bill. Why would a “anti-bank” representative vote against Federal Reserve transparency?

  11. Joey G

    How can you be a fan of Waters when she was accused (rightfully so) for arranging TARP funds ($12MM)to Massachusetts-based OneUnited Bank in which her husband, Sidney Williams, had owned stock in the bank and served on its board. Truyl a concept of interest and it was all accomplished with Barney Frank’s influence. C’mon, both sides of the aisle “suck.” Again, it’s a choice of who you dislike the least but to go as far as calling yourself a fan – YIKES!

    1. Joey G

      How can you be a fan of Waters when she was accused (rightfully so) for arranging TARP funds ($12MM)to Massachusetts-based One United Bank in which her husband, Sidney Williams, had owned stock in the bank and served on its board. Truly a conflict of interest and it was all accomplished with Barney Frank’s influence. C’mon, both sides of the aisle “suck.” Again, it’s a choice of who you dislike the least but to go as far as calling yourself a fan – YIKES!

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