Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) claim that the financial reform bill currently being debated in the Senate "actually guarantees future bailouts of Wall Street banks" at the expense of taxpayers is false, according to Politifact.
The independent, nonpartisan organization concluded that McConnell's claim was false after carefully examining the financial reform bill in question:
We base our ruling primarily on the legislation. It clearly states that the intention is to liquidate failing companies, not bail them out. To do that, it creates a fund with contributions from financial firms, not from taxpayer funds. We do not see any element of the bill that expressly permits ongoing, "endless" outlays from the federal treasury.
Politfact's evaluation of McConnell's unfounded characterization of the financial reform legislation comes amid mounting criticism of the Senate Minority Leader's position on the issue.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who authored the bill under consideration, accused McConnell of lying about its contents last week.
"It's a naked political strategy," Dodd charged. "Nothing could be further from the truth."
The origins of McConnell's remarks can be traced to a leaked strategy memo penned by Republican strategist Frank Luntz. Last week, McClatchy reported on the memo's contents:
[The Memo] advises Republican lawmakers to accuse Dodd and other Democrats of perpetuating bailouts for giant banks. The public disliked the bank bailouts, so framing the Democrats' financial overhaul legislation as a "bailout" could win Republicans votes.