For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
"How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America"
Weissman, director of Essential Information, is lead author of a
231-page report, "Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed
America," released today. He said today: "The financial sector invested
more than $5 billion in political influence-purchasing in Washington
over the past decade, with as many as 3,000 lobbyists winning
deregulation and other policy decisions that led directly to the
current financial collapse.
"The report documents a dozen distinct deregulatory moves that,
together, led to the financial meltdown. These include prohibitions on
regulating financial derivatives; the repeal of regulatory barriers
between commercial banks and investment banks; a voluntary regulation
scheme for big investment banks; and federal refusal to act to stop
predatory subprime lending.
"Congress and the Executive Branch responded to the legal bribes
from the financial sector, rolling back common-sense standards, barring
honest regulators from issuing rules to address emerging problems and
trashing enforcement efforts."
Rosenfield, president of the Consumer Education Foundation, a
California-based nonprofit organization, which co-issued the report,
said: "Depression-era programs that would have prevented the financial
meltdown that began last year were dismantled, and the warnings of
those who foresaw disaster were drowned in an ocean of political money.
Americans were betrayed, and we are paying a high price -- trillions of
dollars -- for that betrayal.
"The betrayal was bipartisan: about 55 percent of the political
donations went to Republicans and 45 percent to Democrats, primarily
reflecting the balance of power over the decade. Democrats took just
more than half of the financial sector's 2008 election cycle
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