One of Washington’s most powerful lobbying groups, the banking industry, failed in its efforts to stop the election of financial services reformer Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to the U.S. Senate. The industry is no doubt jockeying behind the scenes to make sure she doesn’t get appointed to the Senate Banking Committee. Warren’s victory may be one of the most important election outcomes for the country and especially for the working poor and struggling middle class.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued a massive report in April 2011. “Our investigation of the origins of the financial crisis revealed wrongdoing and failures among mortgage lenders, banking regulators, credit rating agencies and investment banks,” commented U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Chair of the Subcommittee.
He added, "One of those investment banks . . . helped create the financial crisis that nearly plunged us into a second Great Depression” (emphasis added).
Senator-elect Warren, a Harvard Law professor, has been tireless and ferocious in taking on the banking industry. Her work has included the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under the Dodd-Frank Act. Credit bureaus, mortgaging lending, and credit card companies, among others, will be regulated and monitored.
Initially, Presidenthad named her acting director of CFPB. Chances of the Senate approving her nomination, however, were slim due to the reluctance of many lawmakers to displease their donors in the banking industry. Ironically, the financial services industry may have a far bigger problem with her as U.S. Senator than CFPB director.
During her speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, candidate Warren told America, “Wall Street CEOs, the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs, still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors and acting like we should thank them …” She had the intellectual honesty, integrity, and prowess to tell the truth. The poor and middle class can rest a little easier with her in Washington. All of America will be better off because of her service.
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Paul Jesep is an attorney, policy analyst, and author of Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis: Learn to Live and Work Ethically.