Ralph Nader's Open Letter to Senator Chris Dodd to Fight for Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Ralph Nader

Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader today called on Senator Christopher Dodd,
Chair of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to fight
for the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Nader’s letter to Senator Dodd follows:

January 19, 2010

The Honorable Senator Christopher Dodd
Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
448 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Dodd:

The Washington Post and several other newspapers report that you are
considering dropping the proposal to create an independent and
free-standing Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Making this kind of deal with the Republicans and more conservative
members of your own party will signal to consumers across the land that
you, as chair of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs,
have lost touch with Main-Street interests. It will show that the
leaders of the Democratic Party care more about the high-rolling
gamblers on Wall Street and the fat-cat bankers than the consumers,
workers, taxpayers, and small investors who have been left with the
costs of the financial meltdown caused by executives' greed, speculation
and crimes.


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When you announced that you were not seeking re-election, many in the
consumer movement thought that you would be free to push for meaningful
financial re-regulation because you wouldn't have to worry about
re-election fundraising. Instead it looks like you are mistakenly
thinking that a financial re-regulation bill, no matter how lacking, is
better than no bill, and that you need to deliver such a bill for
President Obama.

In fact, abandoning consumers on real financial re-regulation is likely
to be more costly to President Obama and the Democratic Party than
standing up to the banking and financial interests that have so damaged
our economy.

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency should be independent with
strong leadership: not part of some other existing bank-indentured
financial regulatory agency. Consumers need an independent agency that
will serve their interests without being captured by the financial
wheelers and dealers who put gouging for short-term profit before the
legitimate interests of consumers. These wheelers and dealers have been
expert in capturing the so-called bank regulators in Washington DC. You
have previously pointed out their "abysmal failure."

Senator Dodd, it is time for you to be a transforming leader and
champion for many millions of consumers. You know how to articulate
their case and focus public outrage on the recalcitrant members of your
committee. Fight for the Consumer Financial Protection Agency - the
people and consumer groups will support you.

Why not convene a representative group of them, including aggrieved
individuals, at a news conference to demonstrate your determination to
reach out to the people of our country?


Ralph Nader

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