Daily Archives: January 18, 2016

Virginia officials offer auto title loan firms a chance to keep information secret — they take it

The nation’s three major auto-title lenders are pressing Virginia officials to keep a wide range of their business records secret, including details about how often they get in trouble with regulators and how many cars they repossess from buyers who can’t repay their loans.

The bid for secrecy is clear from heavily redacted annual reports the lenders filed with Virginia officials on Thursday. The redacted reports were submitted to the state as part of a public records dispute between the Center for Public Integrity and the firms TitleMax of Virginia Inc.; Anderson Financial Services LLC, doing business as LoanMax; and Fast Auto Loans Inc.

Read on.

Key House Republican faces Wall Street revolt

Bloomberg Politics’ Josh Green published a fascinating item last week capturing in great detail just how important the GOP lawmaker’s job is, and just what a mess he’s made.
Garrett’s committee is vital to Wall Street. “The rules of the road for handling money and anything with the SEC go through this committee,” says Marcus Stanley, policy director of the nonprofit Americans for Financial Reform. “There’s a ton of money at stake.” In Washington, the committee is known as the ATM, because banks and hedge funds shower the chairman with contributions. After the Dodd-Frank financial law forced hedge funds to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Garrett, already the recipient of more Wall Street money than almost any other member of the House, got millions more. The banks pay to have a voice, ensure they’re at the table when new rules are discussed, and insinuate themselves into the chairman’s good graces.
Much of the money Garrett collects from Wall Street is supposed to be passed along in the form of party dues to the GOP’s campaign arm, where it’s used to help other candidates get elected. So the committee is also important to Republicans because it binds the party with the business community in a mutually profitable arrangement.
When we talk about the ties between Wall Street and congressional Republicans, Garrett, a member of the notorious House Freedom Caucus, effectively serves as the connective tissue – which, ordinarily, wouldn’t be especially noteworthy, were it not for the fact that the congressman managed to throw a wrench into the machine.
Garrett’s name may sound familiar to regular readers for two reasons. One, he was one of a small group of Republicans who refused to back John Boehner’s re-election as Speaker. And two, Garrett reportedly announced last year that he wouldn’t pay his dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee because the NRCC supported a couple of gay Republican candidates.

VW to hire ex-FBI chief Freeh for U.S. role: Sueddeutsche

Volkswagen plans to hire Louis Freeh, former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to help the carmaker deal with authorities in the United States investigating an emissions scandal, Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.

A special committee on Volkswagen’s supervisory board is due to discuss his appointment on Tuesday, according to an advance excerpt of Sueddeutsche Zeitung’s Tuesday edition.

Asked whether VW was about to hire Freeh, a spokesman for Volkswagen said the company declines to comment on “speculation”.

Read on.

Martin Luther King Jr.: “I Have A Dream.”

Clinton hits Sanders for voting CFMA bill yet didn’t mention the legislation was signed into law by Bill Clinton

Sunday’s Presidential Democratic Debate on the issue of Wall Street was pretty intense by the three candidates.

CNN:

(CNN)Hillary Clinton on Sunday night sought to plant seeds of doubt in voters’ minds over Bernie Sanders’ repeated pledges to crack down on Wall Street.

To do it, Clinton had to go back more than 15 years, and shine a light on a decision that her husband, by his own admission, would come to regret.

“You’re the only one on this stage that voted to deregulate the financial market in 2000,” Clinton said, making reference to his support for former President Bill Clinton’s Commodity Futures Modernization Act.

The law effectively gave bankers, or “sophisticated traders,” free rein from pre-existing oversight mechanisms when they wanted to make deals on the sidelines of the major stock exchanges, in “over-the-counter” trading.

Clinton himself would later cop to having made a serious mistake in signing the bill, saying he didn’t understand the extent to which these deals, if they went bad, could ripple across the global economy.

“Even if less than 1% of the total investment community in derivative exchanges, so much money was involved that if they went bad, they could effect 100% of the investments,” he told ABC’s “This Week” in 2010.

And now, let’s set the record on why Bernie Sanders voted for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000 and how the change in the language tucked in the bill ended all government oversight on derivatives thanks to then Sen. Phil Gramm. From Huffington Post:

When Sanders voted for the House version of the CFMA in October 2000, the bill was not yet a total debacle for Wall Street accountability advocates. The legislative textSanders supported was clearly designed to curtail regulatory oversight. The GOP-authored bill was crafted as a response to a proposal from ex-Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Brooksley Born to ramp up oversight of derivatives. But the version Sanders initially voted for was more benign than the final, Gramm-authored version, and it didn’t draw any of the protests that the 1999 repeal of Glass-Steagall did. In October 2000, the bill passed the House by a vote of 377 to 4 (51 members didn’t vote), and then sat on the shelf for weeks.

But in December, Gramm — after coordinating with top Clinton administration officials — added much harder-edged deregulatory language to the bill, then attached the entire package to a must-pass 11,000-page bill funding the entire federal government. After Gramm’s workshopping, the legislation included new language saying the federal government “shall not exercise regulatory authority with respect to, a covered swap agreement offered, entered into, or provided by a bank.” That ended all government oversight of derivatives purchased or traded by banks. He also created the so-called “Enron Loophole,” which barred federal oversight of energy trading on electronic platforms.

This was an era in which voting against funding the federal government was considered a major governance faux pas. The bill sailed through both chambers of Congress, with few lawmakers even aware of the major new deregulatory changes.

Interesting that a 11,000 page bill funding the entire federal government was attached to the CFMA bill. There was no mention of that in the Presidential Democratic Debate. On a side note: The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA), also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (this bill was to repeal the Glass Steagall Act of 1933) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999. On November 4, 1999, the final bill resolving the differences was passed by the Senate 90–8 and by the House 362–57. Sanders voted no to repeal Glass Steagall Act of 1933. From the roll call House vote:

—- NAYS    57 — 

Baldwin
Barrett (WI)
Barton
Brady (PA)
Campbell
Capuano
Clay
Condit
Conyers
Costello
Coyne
Davis (IL)
DeFazio
DeLauro
Dingell
Dixon
Edwards
Evans
Fattah
Filner
Frank (MA)
Gejdenson
Gutierrez
Hastings (FL)
Hefley
Hinchey
Inslee
Jackson (IL)
Kaptur
Kildee
Kucinich
Lee
Lewis (GA)
Lipinski
Luther
Markey
McDermott
McKinney
Meek (FL)
Mica
Miller, George
Obey
Phelps
Rivers
Rodriguez
Roybal-Allard
Rush
Sanders <———
Sanford
Schakowsky
Serrano
Taylor (MS)
Thurman
Tierney
Waters
Waxman
Woolsey

13 years ago, Sen.Bernie Sanders confronted Alan Greenspan that there was a flaw in his ideology

Sen. Bernie Sanders told Alan Greenspan, in 2003, that Americans are not living the way that Mr. Greenspan imagines they are. Then, in 2008, Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, admitted that there was a flaw in his ideology.

New film ‘Equity’ portrays female-driven Wall Street

Wall Street and Hollywood have at last one thing in common: a lack prominent roles for women.

And when the two industries get together, like in “Wall Street,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Big Short,” women are more likely to be naked in a bubble bath or portrayed as the weepy wife than as an investment banker putting together a deal.

Until now.

“Equity,” — the first project of Hollywood insiders Alysia Reiner and Sarah Megan Thomas — is set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 26.

It is the first female-driven Wall Street film, the two actors, who last year formed Broad Street Pictures, claim.

The film stars Anna Gunn from “Breaking Bad” as Naomi Bishop, a 40s-ish investment banker who, while fighting to get a promotion leads a controversial tech IPO.

It’s being billed as the first post-financial crisis Wall Street film — where the regulations are new but the pressure to succeed is old.

“We wanted to create a female Wall Street movie where the women aren’t hookers or wives but real bankers,” Reiner, of “Orange is the New Black,” told The Post.

Read on.