It’s no secret that I love Senator Warren. She says it plain but she says it true. She has been a staunch advocate of the middle class and consumers for, well, forever. Before she was a US Senator, she was a law professor and a lawyer. For decades, she has written prolifically and persuasively in law reviews, white papers, and books about various consumer issues, in bankruptcy and otherwise. She has advocated relentlessly for average Americas against predatory consumer scams, medical debt, uneven bankruptcy law protections, the closing of courthouse doors to the average person, payday lenders, etc.
The CFPB was her brainchild and it has been the only regulator that has done a damn thing for Americans left as collateral damage from the Big Bank Blowup and Bailout that greeted President Obama even before his inauguration day and has been grinding average Americans through its thresher ever since.
She just told the Democratic Party that it needs to make adjustments. Today, she spoke to the Democratic Alliance of lessons to be learned from this election. She called out Democrats for their role in the government’s woefully deficient response to the bank bailout, the foreclosure crisis, and the rampant abuses of Wall Street and the big banks. She called it out about the weaknesses of the Affordable Care Act and how it only went halfway, causing fatal defects that have failed its purpose. [Matt Taibbi wrote about this too, in Rolling Stone, no time to link ( I probably blogged it then), detailing how President Obama gave up “single payer” in the so-called “negotiation” with the Republicans before the negotiations even got rolling. No.] She has also widely denounced our corrupt campaign financing, the revolving door of government regulators/government, and the complete failure to police this corruption and coopting of our government by billionaires, corporations, tax cheats, and special interests.
Also today, she wrote a letter to Trump, calling him out on the hypocrisy of his proposed transition team:
Wall Street Insiders
During a January 2016 campaign speech in Iowa, you excoriated Wall Street for “caus[ing] tremendous problems” for the United States. Assuring voters that you “don’t care about the Wall Street guys,” you promised that you were “not going to let Wall Street get away with murder.”
You and your surrogates criticized laws that were “favorable to the big banks” and attacked Secretary Clinton for her ties to Wall Street bankers.
But numerous prominent Wall Street financiers – several with demonstrated records of failure during the 2008 financial crisis – are running your transition team or rumored to have a potential spot in your cabinet. These include:
David Malpass, who is responsible for shaping your Administration’s Treasury Department. Malpass served as Chief Economist at Bear Stearns for six years and now runs a consulting firm for Wall Street clients. Just nine months before the crash of 2008, Malpass asserted that “[h]ousing and debt markets are not that big a part of the U.S. economy, or of job creation.”
Former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Paul Atkins – who served in that position as the SEC failed to do its job in the run-up to the financial crisis – will help you appoint personnel to Independent Financial Agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Reserve. While SEC Commissioner, Atkins aggressively opposed holding Wall Street accountable for defrauding investors. Atkins was an “outspoken critic” of levying fines on financial institutions that broke the law, arguing that such penalties were merely “headline-grabbing” tactics that unfairly depleted the value of corporate shares.
Steve Mnuchin, a hedge fund CEO and former Goldman Sachs Vice President who profited off of mortgage foreclosures, is also rumored to be in the running for Treasury Secretary. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Mnuchin purchased IndyMac Bank (renamed One West Bank) from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Under his leadership, the bank became a “leader in foreclosing on seniors.” In 2014, Mnuchin sold One West Bank for a handsome sale price of $3 .4 billion.
Lewis Eisenberg has been floated as a potential pick for Secretary of Commerce. Eisenberg, currently the chief of private equity at Granite Capital International Group, worked as a Goldman Sachs partner for over two decades – until being forced to resign following a complaint that he sexually harassed a colleague.
Quite frankly, the makeup of your transition team suggests that you will not only be “letting Wall Street get away with murder” during your Presidency- you will be letting them write the rules that allow them to get away with it.
Industry Insiders and Special Interest Lobbyists
When you accepted your party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention, you said, “[w]hen innocent people suffer, because our political system …. has sold out to some corporate lobbyist for cash- I am not able to look the other way.”
Yet, your transition team includes numerous prominent industry lobbyists and special interest insiders:
Michael Torrey, a “veteran food and agriculture lobbyist” is advising your team on personnel at the Department of Agriculture. Torrey is a lobbyist for companies that include the American Beverage Association and the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau – both of which could directly benefit from Department of Agriculture policies designed with their interests in mind.
Jeff Eisenach, a “paid consultant for Verizon” and “former lobbyist who has called for deregulation of the telecommunications industry” is advising your team on personnel decisions at the Federal Communications Commission.
Michael Korbey, a “former lobbyist who has spent much of his career advocating for cutting and privatizing the [Social Security] program” is heading your transition team for the Social Security Administration.
Mike McKenna, a “hired gun” and “well-connected energy lobbyist with ties to the industry-backed American Energy Alliance and Institute for Energy Research,” whose clients include the Koch Companies and the Southern Company, is running the transition for the Department of Energy.
David Bernhardt, a lobbyist at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Sheck, is overseeing the Department for the Interior for your transition team. Bernhardt has represented federal contractors, the Rosemont Copper Company, and Freeport LNG Expansion, a company that designs and builds natural gas pipelines.
Dan DiMicco, former CEO of steel maker Nucor and current board member at Duke Energy, is leading your transition for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Jim Carter, an in-house lobbyist for global manufacturing company Emerson, oversees tax reform for your transition team.
Bud Albright, a lobbyist at Oglivie Government Relations, will be chairing your Department of Housing and Urban Development transition.
Rob Collins, a current lobbyist for Google, J.P. Morgan, and the Boeing-Lockheed Martin-funded United Launch Alliance, manages personnel for your transition team.
Rolf Lundberg, formerly the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 35 who currently represents corporate clients like Choice Hotels and the International Franchise Association, is advising your team on trade. The Chamber was a strong supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which you have called a “disaster. .. pushed by special interests who want to rape our country” that “would be the death blow for American manufacturing. ”
Steve Hart, one of D.C.’s “top lobbyists,” with a client list that includes General Electric, Coca Cola, Pfizer, and Visa, and who runs a lobbying firm that dispatched five lobbyists to lobby on issues related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is overseeing the Labor Department transition.
(emphasis added)(citations omitted).
“Man, the Senator [kid] is non-stop.”
Go Liz, go!
Early Elizabeth Warren Love 2009