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If Elected, Clinton Under Pressure To Appoint Tough Wall Street Sheriffs

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If Elected, Clinton Under Pressure To Appoint Tough Wall Street Sheriffs

Hillary Clinton stands along side Senator Elizabeth Warren at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

By Amanda Becker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic Party progressives intent on reining in Wall Street are pushing Hillary Clinton to choose people to head the Treasury, SEC and other agencies who will crack down on big banks if she wins the White House on Nov. 8.

“Do they have a proven track record of challenging corporate power?” asked Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a grassroots group aligned with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the party’s liberal firebrand.

In meetings with Clinton’s team, progressive groups are urging that she break sharply with the centrist, pro-business bent of some of the economic leaders who served her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and President Barack Obama.

Big U.S. banks are voicing concern about both Clinton and Donald Trump, her Republican rival who has accused corporate America of buying influence in Washington.

Among Democratic progressives, a favorite for Treasury secretary is Sarah Bloom Raskin, now deputy Treasury secretary and a backer of strict enforcement of the Volcker Rule that prohibits banks from making some types of speculative investments.

“I view proprietary trading as an activity of low or no real economic value that should not be part of any banking model that has an implicit government backstop,” Raskin, then a Federal Reserve governor, said in a 2012 speech.

Democratic activists, who believe Obama did not go far enough at the height of the 2007-2009 financial crisis to punish bankers and tighten regulation, want to make sure Clinton keeps her campaign promises to defend the 2010 Dodd-Frank reforms and build on them to curb Wall Street’s excesses.

Progressive priorities include ensuring the U.S. Justice Department pursues criminal cases against bankers, not just institutions.

Some Democratic activists are wary of two potential Treasury candidates – Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, and Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard – because of links to the Bill Clinton and Obama administrations.

Sandberg was chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Larry Summers in Bill Clinton’s administration and Brainard was a top lieutenant to Timothy Geithner, Obama’s first Treasury secretary.

Locked in a tight race with Trump, Clinton has said little about any future appointments. Her spokesman, Brian Fallon, said any speculation about personnel is “entirely premature” as Clinton is focusing on winning the election.

She has no obligation to heed the advice of progressives like Warren or Bernie Sanders, who challenged Clinton for the Democratic nomination. But Clinton risks a damaging intraparty rift early in her White House tenure if she ignores them.

Kara Stein, a commissioner on the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and co-author of a book warning of the dangers posed by big financial institutions, are progressive favorites for SEC chair.

Progressives also favor Gary Gensler, an adviser to Hillary Clinton, for a senior administration role because of his reputation as a tough regulator when he headed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Obama administration.

Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said progressives have a “broad feeling of regret” that they did not exert more pressure on Obama to name officials committed to bold financial regulatory reforms.

“It wasn’t so much that progressives lost, it’s that they didn’t understand the stakes at the time and didn’t get into the game until it was too late,” Hauser said.

Warren, who would have a big microphone in any potential fight over U.S. Senate confirmation of nominees, in a speech last week at the Center for American Progress, warned Clinton against choosing people who work at big investment banks.

“When we talk about personnel, we don’t mean advisers who just pay lip service to Hillary’s bold agenda, coupled with a sigh, a knowing glance, and a twiddling of thumbs until it’s time for the next swing through the revolving door, serving government then going back to the very same industries they regulate,” she said.

The New York-based Roosevelt Institute think tank is seeking lesser-known candidates, some outside Washington, for at least 120 administration jobs. Their potential candidates include state attorneys general who have taken on for-profit colleges and handled large mortgage settlements.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Caren Bohan and Howard Goller)

IMAGE: Hillary Clinton stands along side Senator Elizabeth Warren at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk



  1. FireBaron September 30, 2016

    It was the lax regulatory environments that started during the Reagan Administration that led to “too big to fail” institutions. Had there been regulations in place, we would likely not have had the housing bubble and crash of 2006/2008.

    1. Dan S September 30, 2016

      And we all know Trump was rooting for a housing market crash back in 2006. That’s just smart business sense you know ????

    2. Eleanore Whitaker September 30, 2016

      If you watch today’s Senate and House Congressional hearings on CNN on a regular basis, you would not fail to see just how far the Republicans have gone to try and overthrow this government.

      Yesterday, both Gowdy and Chaffetz in that FBI hearing, grilled FBI chief, Comey as if they were Roy Cohn in the McCarthy hearings.

      But the most stunning thing I saw and heard from Gowdy, himself a fraud who used false evidence in the Benghazi hearings, claimed the FBI was employing secrecy. This from the man whose party gave us an AG, Alberto Gonzalez who hired ONLY Republicans secretly to fill US Attorney positions.

      Gowdy and Chaffetz both need to be in jail. When Gowdy, yesterday demanded that the FBI unfairly refused to make the statement that Hillary Clinton’s email server represented a crime, Comey had had enough. He laced into Gowdy who sat there like a petulant little child, shaking his head “no,” when Comey reminded Gowdy that the FBI is not a political party and therefore does not review evidence just to support a political agenda.

      During that entire hearing, the only speakers were ALL Republicans and ALL with one agenda…GET HILLARY. Now it is time to GET RID of Gowdy and the rest of his Roy Cohn attack dog despots.

  2. Thomas Dorman September 30, 2016

    Gary Johnson is dumber than mud. He did not even know what Aleppo is. Aleppo is the largest City in Syria where the Russians and Assad are committing genocide against defenseless Sunni Moslem civilians. It is worse than Kosovo and Bosnia, but the issue is the same – genocide against Sunni Moslems. One of the great lessons of WWII is that we must ALWAYS oppose genocide, not just when it is convenient.

    Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times has determined that the level of horrendous war crimes committed against defenseless Sunni Moslem civilians well surpasses the threshold for genocide.
    We CAN NOT send back the Syrian civilians to face certain death by genocide! Trump wants the United States to support genocide in Syria because he is pro-Russian and he wants the United States to support the Russians. We must NEVER support genocide!
    Gary Johnson also did not know that many people had been injured in the recent terrorist attacks in New York City, Northern New Jersey and the Jersey shore. How could he not know that? Everybody knows that. On the Chris Matthews Show on MSNBC, Johnson could not name even a single foreign leader. The man is dumber than mud. Bernie Sanders is smart and he would never endorse someone as dumb as Gary Johnson. Gary Johnson is a former Republican Governor of New Mexico that the Republicans put up to running to take votes away from Hillary Clinton. When I was a boy I lived in Texas which is not far from Texas. And I can tell you from personal experience, that the mayors and governors from this section of the country are not very smart.

  3. Dominick Vila September 30, 2016

    I rather have a President that appoints “Sheriffs” that keep an eye on the reckless behavior by Wall Street, that along with the deregulation, and demonization of government, that started in the 1980s contributed to the Great Recession; than have one determined to appoint Sheriff Arpaio to head his compassionate immigration Gestapo.

  4. Eleanore Whitaker September 30, 2016

    If you study the business practices of one Donald J. Trump, you see that you knows for certain how to turn loss in others to major gains for himself. This man is about as ruthless as Cheney.

    When men become so ruthless as to believe in their own power and might, that’s the first chink in their armor.

    Donald Trump has often stated over the past 3 decades, that if he didn’t pay people for goods he bought from them or employees he owed wages to, that was “their fault.” He claims that when he behaves this ruthlessly there are NEVER consequences. How very wrong he is.

    During the mid 90s, The Donald went on a wild sprending spree. By the year 2000, he lost the Manhattan Plaza Hotel he owned, his yatch was confiscated and all he had of worth was the name TRUMP. But, not one to allow loss to affect him so much as it impacts devastatingly the people he stiffed, Trump realized all he had to do was get people to pay for the TRUMP name. So, there are hundreds of buildings he no longer owns that have the name TRUMP on them only because the new owners believed the TRUMP name was a symbol of success.

    Like P.T. Barnum, Donald J. Trump managed to fool men who were more than equal to his intelligence into using his name to push their business interests. But now, he stupidly exposed just how crooked some CEOs are and how they skank the system. Watch the Trump Empire topple now that he has so badly proven his own inability to be successful HONESTLY. What good is success if it isn’t achieved honestly?

    1. Dominick Vila September 30, 2016

      …and he does not hesitate to call his “business” misdeeds, evidence of being “smart”…

      1. Eleanore Whitaker September 30, 2016

        The proof of Trump’s role as Roy Cohn’s protege can be found on the front covers of any of the NY Post or NY Daily News papers during the 80s when the Trump Empire was just beginning to meld.

        Cohn told Trump that if someone punches you, you punch back harder until they give up. Oddly, Cohn’s mommy, Dora, like Trump’s doting on their little boys to the extent that neither Fred Trump nor Judge Cohn a well respected judge had any control over their ever growing ruthless sons. Trump so loathed his father like Roy Cohn loathed his. Both men considered their fathers “weak” because both Fred Trump and Judge Cohn knew that success without honor was not success. But wayward little sons like Donnie and Roy considered that a weakness.

        Cohn caused the suicides of several McCarthy witnesses he claimed were “communists.” He went after gay people ferociously while hiding his own homosexuality. Twisted as it was. He died of AIDS. But before he did, like Trump, he had stiffed so many associates that he had to borrow money from Trump to pay off those who were planning to drag him kicking and screaming into court.

        So, when you see Trump’s actions, you are seeing his mentor Roy Cohn, reincarnate.

    2. Karen September 30, 2016

      I am reminded of the numerous occasions Trump has lauded his good genes. And his assertion that people with good genes should marry likewise thus spawning a superior race. Good genes don’t guarantee a moral sense or set of ethics, something he conveniently left out of the equation. But then again, that would be thinking outside his narrow scope of “self”.

  5. Eleanore Whitaker September 30, 2016

    What I find most curious about Trump’s taking on the role his mentor Cohn taught him is that Trump lies without reservation. So, let’s look at what happens when these men lie so flagrantly. Eventually, it is accepted that every word out of their mouths is a lie because their finely honed and crafted reputations precede them.

    So, decent, honest people avoid them because they are not foolish enough to TRUST such people. Liars cannot be trusted. The more a liar lies and lies, the worse their inability to exact any tiny measure of trust from others becomes. And, more so, any new associates back off making any overtures to someone in whom some measure of trust cannot be invested. That’s why liars like Trump are not presidential material and why his Trump Empire is about to topple.

  6. Jon September 30, 2016

    Prosecuting the individuals who head the banks and not merely the institutions is vital if they are serious about enforcement. Those individuals responsible for violations must be held accountable. Institutions do not make choices. People make choices. Unless there is accountability for making illegal choices, the motivation to obey the law is greatly diminished.

    1. iamproteus September 30, 2016

      Absolutely correct! Let’s start with the upper management of Wells Fargo. Trials should be short and punishments severe. Madoff style punishment should be the minimum considered.

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