News Release

“How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America”

ROBERT WEISSMAN
HARVEY ROSENFIELD
Weissman, director of Essential Information, is lead author of a 231-page report, “Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America,” released today. He said today: “The financial sector invested more than $5 billion in political influence-purchasing in Washington over the past decade, with as many as 3,000 lobbyists winning deregulation and other policy decisions that led directly to the current financial collapse.

“The report documents a dozen distinct deregulatory moves that, together, led to the financial meltdown. These include prohibitions on regulating financial derivatives; the repeal of regulatory barriers between commercial banks and investment banks; a voluntary regulation scheme for big investment banks; and federal refusal to act to stop predatory subprime lending.

“Congress and the Executive Branch responded to the legal bribes from the financial sector, rolling back common-sense standards, barring honest regulators from issuing rules to address emerging problems and trashing enforcement efforts.”

Rosenfield, president of the Consumer Education Foundation, a California-based nonprofit organization, which co-issued the report, said: “Depression-era programs that would have prevented the financial meltdown that began last year were dismantled, and the warnings of those who foresaw disaster were drowned in an ocean of political money. Americans were betrayed, and we are paying a high price — trillions of dollars — for that betrayal.

“The betrayal was bipartisan: about 55 percent of the political donations went to Republicans and 45 percent to Democrats, primarily reflecting the balance of power over the decade. Democrats took just more than half of the financial sector’s 2008 election cycle contributions.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167