-By Bartlett Naylor
June 17, 2011- We’ve noticed some floundering in the past few months by conservative lawmakers opposing the new Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. So, as we approach mid-year, we thought we’d offer a few helpful hints on how better to raise campaign contributions from the banking lobby.
Sen. Richard Shelby and Rep. Spencer Bachus: You should not transparently recite the lines fed to you by the banking industry. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Bachus, you told the Birmingham News: “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.” We’ve got some learning to do. You may sincerely believe this, but let’s understand the play. The bad guys are the reckless bankers who trashed the economy. The victims are the unemployed in your Birmingham-centered district and the Auburn and Alabama University students who are facing a grim employment outlook because reckless bankers took down the economy. The good guys are the people trying to reform the system to better protect regular Americans from Wall Street machinations.
Chief among the good guys is actually a woman. Her name is Elizabeth Warren. We know you know her, because you cannot seem to say enough bad things about her. But remember the play—who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. Senate banking committee ranking Republican Sen. Shelby: You shouldn’t have forced 43 colleagues to co-sign a letter to President Obama threatening to stop any nomination—namely Warren’s—to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless its powers are emasculated.
House oversight subcommittee chairman Patrick McHenry: You really shouldn’t have called Ms. Warren a liar—twice—at the hearing May 24. You claimed she lied about the extent of her help combatting mortgage fraud. First, it’s absurd to chastise someone for doing their job too well. (You congratulate them for that; give them a raise.) But second, and more importantly, lying to Congress, called perjury, is a felony. If you believe that, you’re obliged to inform federal enforcement agents of the felony. If you’re not willing to do that, then you really must apologize. If she weren’t a public figure, she could sue you for slander, since you called her a liar on television and are not protected under the Speech or Debate clause. (Sen. William Proxmire, my former boss, got nailed in Hutchinson v. Proxmire for that transgression when he handed out one of his Golden Fleece awards. While in the Proxmire file, you could also look up USA v. Dean. Deborah Gore Dean was sentenced to home confinement for perjury before Proxmire’s Senate banking committee.)