Tell Congress: Fight the Wall Street revolving door


Excerpt from: CREDO action
When Treasury Secretary Jack Lew left Citigroup for the Obama administration in 2009, his contract with the megabank guaranteed him a $1 million bonus for taking any “full time high level position with the U.S. government or regulatory body.”1

Sen. Elizabeth Warren calls it “paying people off to remember their Wall Street friends while they run our government” – and she’s right.2 Corporate insiders regularly get big bonuses to take government jobs. And the problem goes even deeper. The Treasury Department and regulators like the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission routinely hire former Wall Street bankers, and staffers at these agencies leave their posts for cushy Wall Street gigs.3

The revolving door between government and Wall Street helps the wealthiest few hijack our democracy for their own gain. That is why progressive champions Rep. Elijah Cummings and Sen. Tammy Baldwin have introduced a tough new bill to crack down on the revolving door – and Sen. Warren is calling for all of us to get behind it.

Tens of thousands of CREDO members successfully fought to keep President Obama from nominating banker Antonio Weiss to an official position with the Treasury Department, and our campaign received a major boost when the public learned that Weiss was due to receive $21 million in handouts for taking a government job.4

Majorities of Americans in both major political parties support cracking-down on the revolving door between Wall Street and government.5 If we make a major push right now, it will force everyone from Republican leadership to corporate Democrats to make it clear where they stand.

The Baldwin-Cummings bill will strike a blow against the revolving door by:

  • Banning golden parachutes for taking government jobs. New government employees should not be allowed to take bonuses from their former companies when they are supposed to be serving the public.6
  • Limiting conflicts of interest. Bank and corporate regulators need to recuse themselves from any official work that would benefit their former employees.7
  • Toughening up lobbying rules and increasing “cooling off” times. More federal employees should be barred from lobbying their former colleagues and all of them must wait two years, not one, before they do so.8

As Sen. Warren put it, “Laws matter. But it also matters who interprets those laws, who enforces those laws.”9 We need to show that Americans care about personnel just as much as policy.

The head of the Treasury Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative are both former Citigroup employees.10 Securities and Exchange Chair Mary Jo White’s new chief of staff is a former Goldman lawyer.11 Attorney General Eric Holder just recently returned to his old corporate law firm under a cloud of questions about the firm holding an office for him before he left the government.12 The list could go on and on.

All over the government, former Wall Street employees fill important positions, bringing with them a biased worldview and the ability for their former co-workers to influence them with a well-placed phone call. Countless more treat Wall Street with kid gloves to preserve the possibility of cashing in on a job in the future, or leave government and use their connections and expertise on behalf of their new employees.13

This new bill won’t end the revolving door. But it will strike a potent blow against it – and rallying behind this legislation will send a powerful message to leaders in both parties.

  • Fight the Wall Street revolving door by signing the petition to Congress:

“Strike a blow against the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington by immediately passing the Baldwin-Cummings Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act.”

http://act.credoaction.com/sign/Baldwin_Cummings_RevolvingDoor?t=7&akid=15093.7785905.h-C-9B

Thank you for speaking out.

Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Lee Fang, “The Reverse Revolving Door: How Corporate Insiders Are Rewarded Upon Leaving Firms for Congress,” The Nation, May 4, 2013.
Jenna McLaughlin, “Elizabeth Warren Pushes To Slow Revolving Door Between Business and Government,” The Intercept, July 17, 2015.
Jessica Schieder, “Throwing a Wrench in the Revolving Door,” Center for Effective Goverment, July 24, 2015.
Chris Frates, “Want $20 million to work for the government? Just quit a Wall Street job first,” CNN.com, December 4, 2014.
Schieder, “Throwing a Wrench in the Revolving Door.”
“Baldwin and Cummings Introduce Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act” Baldwin.Senate.Gov, July 15, 2015.
Ibid.
Ibid.
David Dayen, “Elizabeth Warren Challenges Hillary Clinton to Stop the Revolving Door,” The New Republic, July 17, 2015.
Lisa Gilbert, “Reforming the financial services revolving door,” The Hill, July 15, 2015.
David Michaeld, “Goldman’s Donohue to Become SEC Chair White’s Chief of Staff,” Bloomberg, May 28, 2015.
David Dayen, “Why Eric Holder’s new job is an insult to the American public,” Slate.com, July 7, 2015.
Schieder, “Throwing a Wrench in the Revolving Door.”

© 2015 CREDO. All rights reserved.

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