The House finally passed its financial regulatory reform bill today by a 21-vote margin. Apparently, there are 202 members of the House, Republicans and Democrats, who aren't interested in clamping down on the too-big-to-fail financials that helped to get us into this mess. While there are a lot of great things in the bill, there are also some gigantic loopholes.
One of the loopholes involves exempting some of the largest banks from regulatory oversight contained within the bill and its newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
We can thank Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) for making this happen.
According to Sam Stein at the Huffington Post, Perlmutter engaged in a parliamentary trick in order to write into the record the "intent" of the bill with regards to the largest financial institutions, thus creating a gigantic opening for them to wiggle through and escape oversight. This after he tried and failed twice to pass such a loophole as a legitimate amendment.
Perlmutter's actions have been matched almost perfectly with a series of contributions from the same groups that would benefit most from the loophole.
Over the last couple of months, Stein reports, Perlmutter has collected cash from the Independent Community Bankers of America PAC ($3,500), the American Bankers Association PAC ($5,000), the Credit Union National Association PAC ($2,500), and U.S. Bancorp's PAC ($5,000). All of this since September. Oh, and by the way, he owns around a quarter of a million dollars in U.S. Bancorp stock.
It was this exact brand of collusion between Congress and financials that plunged us into this quagmire in the first place, and now, within the bill that's supposed to prevent another disaster, they've done it again. And while we're busily hyper-evaluating the usual suspects, it's nobodies like Perlmutter who dash between the rain drops practically undetected and wreak the most damage.
Too-big-to-fail gets a loophole from too-small-to-be-noticed.
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