Jeff Connaughton: “The public interest has become so outgunned”

By: Thursday October 4, 2012 12:30 pm

Before last night’s debate, Jeff Connaughton, former chief of staff to Senator Ted Kaufman and longtime aide to Joe Biden and President Clinton, offered some advice to Mitt Romney. He thought Romney should go after Barack Obama’s biggest weakness: the failure to prosecute Wall Street crimes.

In actuality, Romney only submitted a glancing blow with respect to Wall Street, claiming that the Dodd-Frank financial reform law “designates a number of banks as too big to fail, and they’re effectively guaranteed by the federal government… There’ve been 122 community and small banks have closed since Dodd- Frank.”

Here is an edited transcript of our conversation, which covered financial reform, money in politics, and the insidious grip of Big Money over Washington.


Congressional Oversight Panel Report Highlights Systemic Risk of Foreclosure Fraud

By: Tuesday November 16, 2010 8:40 am

The Congressional Oversight Panel, the TARP watchdog program formerly chaired by Elizabeth Warren and now helmed by former Senator Ted Kaufman, has released a report detailing the failures in the mortgage servicing industry, and the threats to the overall housing market, financial sector and greater economy. The report is chilling.

DE Sen: Coons Favors Trade Policy That Bolsters Middle Class, Opposes Cuts to Social Security

By: Wednesday September 22, 2010 3:05 pm

The freak show has come to staid, pedestrian Delaware, in the form of Christine O’Donnell and her litany of crazy. But while the national media and late-night comics focus on condoms, masturbation and witchcraft, the man who is likely to become the next Senator from the state has quietly gone about his business. I had the opportunity to talk with Coons about the race, the O’Donnell madness, and his specific positions on issues he could face shortly in the Senate.

Banks Break Law, Pay Small Fines, Go Back to Breaking Law

By: Saturday July 17, 2010 11:00 am

Rule of law means that people responsible for crimes lose their liberty. That’s what it means for most people, anyway. Not so on Wall Street. Sen. Ted Kaufman name-checks Jamie Galbraith, but Galbraith would like to see people who break the law go to prison. That would be an effective deterrent, not a slap on the wrist.

Politico Conducts Poll of One Liberal Irked by Feingold on Financial Reform; Most Liberals Irked at Politico

By: Tuesday July 13, 2010 9:15 am

According to Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown, Russ Feingold’s defiance on the so-called financial reform bill irks liberals. She even finds one liberal to say how irked he his. That’s right, one (1) and he doesn’t claim to speaks for all liberals.

Sen. Kaufman Lays Out FinReg Conference Game Plan

By: Thursday May 27, 2010 6:30 am

Barney Frank announced his conferees for the Wall Street reform bill Wednesday, and he made the important point that the focus on the specific names is a little misplaced. The views of the leadership, and the White House, and what can garner the requisite votes, will factor into the ultimate decisions as much as the specific conferees involved. Frank called his conferees “the agents of collective decision-making than autonomous deciders.”

FinReg Passes The Senate After Banksters Stare Down Auto Dealers

By: Thursday May 20, 2010 6:36 pm

Maneuvers late in the day resulted in the Senate passing a financial regulation bill.

Ron Paul Says Sanders “Switched and Watered Down” Audit the Fed (Video and Transcript)

By: Friday May 7, 2010 6:05 am

Good for Ron Paul for telling Rahm and his little pro-bank whip operation to get stuffed. He’s seizing a moment of transpartisan anger at the banks and he’s pointing it straight at the Wall Street apologists. It will be interesting to see how far he can take it.

Video: Kaufman Confronts Goldman’s David Viniar About Shorting the CDOs They Pushed to Their Clients

By: Tuesday April 27, 2010 3:30 pm

Sen. Ted Kaufman asked David Viniar what Goldman Sach’s obligations were to its clients, and whether they should  have stopped selling mortgage-backed CDO’s to them when Goldman itself was shorting them.  Viniar didn’t see any apparent conflict of interest.

Brown, Kaufman Introduce Safe Banking Act of 2010

By: Wednesday April 21, 2010 12:00 pm

The bill would place a cap on any financial institution, limiting their total assets to 3% of GDP (that would lower to 2% for banks, as opposed to 3% for non-bank institutions). Currently, the 6 largest banks have holdings that equal 63% of GDP. The Safe Banking Act would also impose a 10% cap on any bank holding company’s share of insured deposits. Bank holding companies and “selected nonbank financial institutions” would have a leverage limit of 6%, meaning that they would not be able to lend out more than around sixteen dollars for every dollar of capital in house.

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