GOP Congressman Reimagines “Wall Street Titans” as Huge Fans of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform

RHETORIC: “Wall Street titans” are big fans of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 

  • Sean Duffy (R-WI) took $658,754 from Wall Street interests during the last election. During an April 26 hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, Duffy claimed that “Wall Street titans” prefer the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act–signed into law in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis–to the “Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, being pushed by congressional Republicans, including Duffy. Sponsored by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), the deceptively titled “Financial CHOICE Act” would, if approved, roll back fundamental consumer and market protections established by Dodd-Frank, including eliminating the Volcker Rule that stops banks from gambling with taxpayer money; repealing the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (FSOC) ability to detect signs of another potential financial crisis; and gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) authority to hold credit card companies, banks, payday lenders, debt collectors, and other predatory financial industries accountable. Surprisingly, the legislation even rolls back important protections that predate the financial crisis. [Jared Bennett, “Trump, Wall Street and the ‘Banking Caucus’ Ready to Rip Apart Dodd-Frank,” Center for Public Integrity, February 1, 2017; Hearing on a Legislative Proposal to Create Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers, and Entrepreneurs, Before the Committee on Financial Services, 115th Cong. (April 28, 2017); and Melanie Waddell, “Financial Choice Act to be Reintroduced by End of April,” Think Advisor, April 12, 2017.]

REALITY: Wall Street (and its “titans”) have attacked Dodd-Frank for years.

  • In January 2015, “proponents of regulation” said that they were “badly outgunned by an army of Wall Street lobbyists” in an effort “to undermine Dodd-Frank.” By September 2014, “the Securities Industry and Financial Market Association, Wall Street’s biggest lobbying group, had spent $5.8 million alone” fighting Dodd-Frank regulatory reform that year. In January 2017, “half a dozen industry lobbyists said they began meeting with legislative staff” advocating for a “rollback of Volcker, part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform.” Large banking institutions, similar to the “Wall Street titans” Duffy referred to, “have been making such arguments for years.” In 2010, “as the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was being crafted and debated in Congress, banks and other financial firms threw millions of dollars into lobbying and campaign contributions.” Banks won some battles, “including watering down key provisions aimed at reducing risky trading.” Banks “kept their lobbying expenditures fairly constant” even after the bill had passed. [Jonathan Weisman and Eric Lipton, “In New Congress, Wall St. Pushes to Undermine Dodd-Frank Reform,” New York Times, January 13, 2015; Olivia Oran, “S. Banks Gear Up to Fight Dodd-Frank Act’s Volcker Rule,” Reuters, January 14, 2017; and Pat Garofalo, “Wall Street Spending as Much to Undermine Dodd-Frank Regulations as It Spent Trying to Block Dodd-Frank,” Think Progress, April 22, 2011.]

REALITY: Duffy took $658,754 from “Wall Street titans” during the last election.

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