Progressive and Reform Groups Press Clinton, Sanders To Name Names Who Will Challenge Wall Street — As Treasury Secretary, Attorney General, SEC Chair
As Clinton promises to get things done and Sanders pushes Wall Street influence, both can bolster their case by saying they will appoint people to key posts who will challenge Wall Street power
Joint petition launched at PresidentialAppointmentsMatter.com
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With Thursday’s presidential debate shining the spotlight on Wall Street influence and the next president’s ability to achieve big change, four progressive and Wall Street reform organizations are launching a joint campaign called Presidential Appointments Matter.
The groups are invoking Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Todd, who have each pressed presidential candidates on whether they would appoint people who will challenge Wall Street power to key positions like Treasury Secretary, Attorney General, and SEC Chair.
Rootstrikers, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Revolving Door Project, and Public Citizen’s Congress Watch are launching the campaign with supportive statements from Americans For Financial Reform and Better Markets.
Challenging Wall Street – The joint petition to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Republican presidential candidates says:
Wall Street influence is a major issue in the 2016 election. One of the most consequential things a president can do is appoint people who have a record of challenging Wall Street power.
As Senator Elizabeth Warren says: Personnel is policy. Please give the public some specific examples of people you would consider for key posts that our nation relies on to challenge Wall Street power — including Treasury Secretary, Attorney General, and SEC Chair. And please be transparent about factors you will use when making appointments for these key positions.
[The public is signing the petition at PresidentialAppointmentsMatter.com]
The campaign will include mounting public activism, including elevating testimonials from the next Democratic primary state Nevada, where bank foreclosures were disproportionately high.
Rootstrikers Campaign Manager Kurt Walters: “White papers with strong Wall Street reform plans are one thing. But it will take actual people to carry them out – people with a demonstrated willingness to stand up to one of the most powerful industries on Earth. Revealing concrete plans to look outside of Wall Street and the corporate boardroom set for key positions like Treasury Secretary, Attorney General, and SEC Chair will help overcome any doubts about candidates’ resolve to fight for an economy that works for ordinary families and not just Wall Street.”
Progressive Change Campaign Committee Co-Founder Stephanie Taylor: “We are seeing a rising economic populist tide across the nation. Many issues in the 2016 debate boil down to voters wanting the next president to truly challenge Wall Street power and corporate power. Personnel is policy – and key to assessing a politician’s seriousness about challenging Wall Street power is who they would appoint to senior positions like Treasury Secretary, Attorney General, and SEC Chair. This is a top priority of Elizabeth Warren’s and we are organizing thousands of progressives across the nation to ask presidential candidates to give specifics and promise appointees who will challenge Wall Street power.”
Revolving Door Project Director Jeff Hauser: “Voters across the partisan divide have expressed clear concern that Wall Street has too much power in government. Presidential candidates need to set forth a bright line commitment to rejecting the same old same old of appointing bankers to guard the henhouse from the foxes of Wall Street. It will not be good enough to appoint people who are simply not odious. Candidates should only choose regulators with a proven record of pro-actively standing up to Wall Street power — we need aggressive people who will scare the financial sector into adhering to the straight and narrow.”
Public Citizen Congress Watch Director Lisa Gilbert: “Appointments matter. When a senior official leaves a big bank on Friday, and shows up on Monday to a government job to oversee that bank, it can greatly damage the public’s trust in government — and further enshrine a culture of sympathy towards Wall Street in our financial services regulatory agencies. Still worse, leaving Wall Street for the Capitol is sometimes straightforwardly incentivized by big dollar bonuses from the major banks to serve in government. Government appointments should be free of conflict, and certainly not paid for by big banks — our next President must strive to keep their administration free from this revolving door culture.”
Supportive quote from Americans for Financial Reform Executive Director Lisa Donner: “Who a President nominates to senior financial policy and financial regulatory posts – Treasury Secretary, Attorney General, leaders of financial oversight agencies – makes all the difference in what policies we end up with, and whether our economy works for most people. Our next President should make demonstrated willingness to stand up to Wall Street power in order to protect the public interest a bottom line criteria for these positions.”
Supportive quote from Better Markets CEO Dennis Kelleher: “The American people are sick and tired of seeing Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks welcomed with open arms in Washington, DC even though they crashed the financial system, received trillions in taxpayer bailouts, and caused economic wreckage from coast to coast. The revolving door and the pernicious outsized influence Wall Street’s biggest banks have over elected officials, policy makers, and regulators are seriously eroding trust and confidence of the American people in their government. This must end. The next President must appoint people who are solely committed to protecting the public interest instead of furthering the Wall Street-centric view that what is good for Wall Street is good for America. And, after they leave their government service, they must also be barred from contacting their government office for three years. Ending the corrupt and corrupting revolving door must be a priority for the next President.”
Quotes from Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Todd:
Elizabeth Warren’s Netroots Nation 2015 Keynote: Anyone who wants to be president should appoint only people who have already demonstrated that they are independent, who have already demonstrated that they will hold giant banks accountable. (Phoenix, Arizona, July 17, 2015)
NBC’s Chuck Todd To Hillary Clinton Last Week: “Six of the last Treasury Secretaries either came from Wall Street or went to Wall Street after. I think there certainly right now isn’t an appetite for somebody from Wall Street to be the next Treasury Secretary…Do you think you can pick one without having them have a Wall Street background?” (Meet The Press, February, 7, 2016)
Elizabeth Warren’s Recent “Personnel Is Policy” NYT Op-Ed: “In many instances, weak enforcement by federal agencies is about the people at the top. Presidents don’t control most day-to-day enforcement decisions, but they do nominate the heads of all the agencies, and these choices make all the difference. Strong leaders at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Labor Department have pushed those agencies to forge ahead with powerful initiatives to protect the environment, consumers and workers. The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a tiny office charged with oversight of the post-crash bank bailout, has aggressive leaders — and a far better record of holding banks and executives accountable than its bigger counterparts. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission, suffering under weak leadership, is far behind on issuing congressionally mandated rules to avoid the next financial crisis. It has repeatedly granted waivers so that lawbreaking companies can continue to enjoy special privileges, while the Justice Department has dodged one opportunity after another to impose meaningful accountability on big corporations and their executives. Each of these government divisions is headed by someone nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The lesson is clear: Personnel is policy.” (January 29, 2016)
For more info, contact:
Rootstrikers: Kurt Walters <[email protected]>
PCCC: Marissa Barrow <[email protected]>
Revolving Door Project: Jeffrey Hauser <[email protected]>
Public Citizen: Lisa Gilbert <[email protected]>
Americans For Financial Reform: Jim Lardner <[email protected]>
Rootstrikers is a new generation of activists taking a stand against the corrupting influence of money in politics and Wall Street’s attempts to rig the game against everyday Americans. We are a project of Demand Progress, led by executive director David Segal.