POLITICS

Ben Nelson Denies That Buffett Influenced FinReg Vote

The financial regulatory reform bill currently wending its way through Congress incorporated a reform of the derivatives market, prompting famed investor Warren Buffett to lobby hard for a provision that would exempt current derivatives from much of the proposed regulation.

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and company weren't really feelin' it, but, as always, Berkshire hath a way to get what it wants -- Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). And Nelson, "who owns millions in Berkshire stock," did his best, voting with the GOP thrice to keep FinReg from debate.

But, of course, Ben Nelson wants you to know that he acted completely independently from any pressure he was feeling from the Oracle of Omaha, and that you should totally trust him, nothing to see here, move along. Per TPM:

Yesterday, Nelson lashed out at what he called the "cesspool of gotcha politics" and defended his votes.

"To be absolutely clear, I did not vote no because of Berkshire Hathaway. Nor did the fact that I and my wife have owned Berkshire stock for 30+ years have anything to do with my vote. It has never been an issue. It isn't now," he said in a statement. "I voted no because of concerns about what is in the underlying bill drafted by Senator Dodd."

My standing challenge to Nelson and his staff is to proffer the name of a single human being in a America who actually believes a word of that, because -- anthropologically speaking -- I have always wanted to meet the most naive person in the world. Feel free to email me!

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