Senators Fighting Financial Regulation Are Bankrolled By Wall Street
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has introduced legislation to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill in its entirety. In a press release, DeMint charges that that the "financial takeover is producing hundreds of new regulations, forcing banks to charge consumers higher fees, and institutionalizing 'too big to fail' policies that favor Wall Street companies over small businesses." Thus far, 18 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have cosponsored DeMint's bill.
DeMint's feigned anger about Wall Street isn't new. From day one of the legislative process, Republicans have characterized financial regulatory reform as a gift to Wall Street, arguing that it would institutionalize government bailouts. Their populist and anti-Wall Street rhetoric, however, has been far from genuine. According to the Public Campaign Action Fund, a watchdog and campaign finance group, the 19 senators who favor repealing Dodd-Frank have received almost $50 million from the corporate interests regulated under the legislation, including the finance, insurance and real estate industries.
McConnell has been the most brazen. During debate over the bill last year, McConnell — a big fan of repetition — repeatedly attacked financial reform on Senate floor by parroting language lifted directly from a memo put together by conservative wordsmith Frank Luntz. In fact, McConnell denounced the bill as a giveaway to big business at the same time that he was plotting with Wall Street executives on how to defeat reform. McConnell, who voted for President Bush's 2008 bailout of the financial sector, has received almost $5.5 million from the industry and was called out by the editors of the Lexington Herald-Leader for "unabashedly courting Wall Street bankers for political money."