Why Is GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell Against Regulating Wall Street?
Wasn’t it lack of oversight of our financial institutions, pushed by anti-regulation Republicans, that got us in financial trouble in the first place? Now, David Lightman of McClatchy looks at possible motives of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to go against bipartisanship and oppose efforts to reign in Wall Street.
McConnell says that he was reacting strongly to concerns from Kentucky bankers, as well as to a Democratic effort to shut Republicans out of the process.
However, critics say it was no coincidence that his blasts came after he met with Wall Street executives, and that his comments mirrored advice from Republican strategist Frank Luntz on how best to defeat the Democrats’ legislation.
McConnell is charging that the White House isn’t interested in talking and that Democratic legislation would encourage bailouts for big financial companies, which is not true.
Critics alleged that there was a connection between a trip that McConnell and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the chairman of the Republican Senate campaign committee, took to New York City last week for meetings and fundraisers with Wall Street executives.
In one instance, the two met with hedge fund investors for about an hour, urged listeners to understand the GOP position on financial overhaul — and asked them to consider donating money. The senators also raised money at KKR, a major private equity firm.
“He’s raising money from investment bankers and hedge fund managers in return for policy,” said Larry Forgy, a Lexington, Ky., political observer and attorney. “I have always felt these decisions of a major policy nature should not be combined with fundraising campaigns as he appears to be conducting in New York. I don’t think the average person in Kentucky has a damn bit of sympathy for hedge fund managers.”
McConnell, of course, denies this and says his Wall Street meetings have nothing to do with his political position, and argues that Democrats talk to these people, too. But it certainly looks like there is an effort on McConnell’s part to protect his Wall Street friends.
The Senate bill would create a $50 billion fund — the House of Representatives version would be $150 billion — to help dissolve troubled financial institutions. However, the money would come from assessments on large financial firms, not from taxpayers. McConnell said he’s referring not just to that fund, but also to other provisions in the bill.Click here for reuse options!
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