On Thursday afternoon, Blue America will be hosting a special session with our newest endorsee, Justin Coussoule, at Crooks and Liars (4pm, ET/1pm, PT). I hope you'll join us and get to know Justin during the live blog session. Meanwhile, I've included a video interview our friends at ProgressOhio did a few days ago. In talking with Justin on the phone just as the SEC announced its suit against Goldman Sachs, I asked him if he could address the Wall Street crisis and how Boehner has fit in. He just sent me this guest post. I hope you'll wind up as being as enthused about Justin as I am and contribute to his campaign. But read first:
John Boehner: Fighting for Wall Street Bankers
-by Justin Coussoule
If Friday's filing of a lawsuit for fraud by the Security and Exchange Commission against Goldman Sachs left the Wall Street banks feeling a little uneasy, they can always take comfort in the knowledge that they have a rock solid champion and protector in House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). Boehner, who has received over $3.4 million from the financial services industry in contributions ($1.2 million more than he has received from any other industry) has been cozying up to Wall Street for years. But his overtures have grown especially bold in the months leading up to Congressional consideration of a sweeping reform bill drafted by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
In February of this year Boehner met James Dimon, the chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, at a Capitol Hill restaurant. Over drinks, Boehner reminded Dimon that House Republicans, led by Boehner himself, had consistently worked to block efforts by the President and Congressional Democrats to curb Wall Street payouts and pass regulatory reform of the financial industry, and that such obstructionism should not go unappreciated by Wall Street campaign contributors.
A month later, speaking before the American Bankers Association about the proposed Senate bill, Boehner told the crowd of bankers that even if the Senate were to pass a bill, he was confident that reconciling it with the House version would delay reform for at least another year. And after assuring the bankers of delay in the House of the much needed reform bill, Boehner encouraged the bankers to stand up for themselves against Congressional efforts at regulating Wall Street, adding:
"Don't let those punk little staffers take advantage of you... the more regulations you have to comply with the more cost you have there and less amount you are going to have available to loan to customers."
Of course, such outrageous remarks by Boehner come as little surprise given his voting record in the House during the eighteen months since Wall Street's greed and recklessness nearly ruined our country's economy and dragged us into the depths of a second Great Depression.
Twice, Boehner has voted against Wall Street reform, once against regulatory reform of the mortgage industry and three times against regulating the pay of the Wall Street bankers who nearly destroyed our economy. Votes made even more outrageous by the fact that Boehner voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 ('the bank bailout').
It seems Boehner had no problem with handing over $700 billion of our taxpayer money to save the bankers who devastated the retirements, home values and investments of million of hard-working, middle-class Americans, but he refuses to impose even the slightest regulation on those same greedy and reckless bankers in order to protect the American people from being victimized yet again. Few issues are more emblematic of how completely Boehner is out of touch with the values of his constituents back in southwest Ohio than his complete opposition to Wall Street reform of any kind in shameless pursuit of Wall Street campaign money.
Misrepresented for two decades by John Boehner, Washington's ultimate insider, Ohio's Eighth District suffers from an unemployment rate above the national average, some of the fastest dying communities in Ohio and a once-proud manufacturing base left in tatters by years of failed Republican economic and foreign trade policies. Nearly vacant main streets and shuttered factories throughout the Eighth District have left the residents asking whose interests their absentee Congressman is representing in Washington-- working families or Wall Street bankers?
The people of Ohio's Eighth District deserve much better than John Boehner. We deserve a responsive, accountable public servant to represent us in Washington. The stakes are too high for anything less. The time for change is now.
UPDATE: Even Though He Isn't A Blue Dog, The DCCC Agrees With Coussoule's Analysis
DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen has noticed Wall Street contributions flowing into GOP campaign coffers and he's concerned. Last week he said he had "learned House Republicans are stepping up their efforts to shake down campaign contributions from big banks in exchange for vowing to protect them from President Obama and Congressional Democrats' initiatives to crack down on Wall Street... House Republicans have sent a clear message to the American people that Wall Street matters more than middle class families and small businesses that are hurting on Main Street." The DCCC sent out a message that clearly indicates they're on the same page as Justin when it comes to Boehner. Will they overlook the fact that he's not a Blue Dog and get behind his campaign?
• "In discussions with Wall Street executives, Republicans are striving to make the case that they are banks' best hope of preventing President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats from cracking down on Wall Street. GOP strategists hope to benefit from the reaction to the White House's populist rhetoric and proposals, which range from sharp critiques of bonuses to a tax on big Wall Street banks, caps on executive pay and curbs on business practices deemed too risky." [GOP Chases Wall Street Donors, the Wall Street Journal, 2/4/2010]
• House Republicans met in December with 100 banking and special interest lobbyists in an effort to kill Wall Street reform legislation. [Roll Call, 12/8/09]
• House Republicans voted unanimously against the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act-- legislation the House passed to reform Wall Street, reform executive pay, end bailouts and unwind so-called 'too big to fail' firms, and hold the big banks and financial firms accountable to American taxpayers...[HR 4173, #968 12/11/09].
• On March 19, 2009, 87 House Republicans Voted Against Taxing Bonuses Paid to AIG Executives and other Companies Receiving Federal Assistance (2009). [H R 1586, #143, 3/19/09].
Please help Justin beat Boehner; let's change our country for the better.