Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

New Report: Conditions of 2008 Financial Crash Still Linger; Regulatory Response Needed

'Still Too Big to Fail' Outlines Six Solutions to Help Avoid Financial Crisis, Including Improved Disclosure of Political Spending

The conditions that led to the 2008 financial crisis remain stubbornly present in the current regulatory regime, according to a report (PDF) released today by the Corporate Reform Coalition.

Seven years after the crisis, regulators have failed to make sufficient progress on key components of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Regulators also have failed to boost transparency in political spending, which the report – “Still Too Big to Fail, Opportunities for Regulatory Action Seven Years after the Bear Stearns Rescue,” cites as necessary for allowing shareholders to hold companies accountable.

“Avoiding another meltdown depends on the will of federal regulators to use the new powers they were granted in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,” said Jennifer Taub, author of the report and professor of law at Vermont Law School. “If they behave as if they are beholden to the banks, we will likely face a more severe crisis in the future.” Taub also is the author of the acclaimed financial crisis book “Other People’s Houses.”

In the report, Taub highlights six opportunities for strong regulation that would make bailouts for Wall Street firms less likely, such as reducing dependence by banks on short-term wholesale funding, closing loopholes in derivative regulation, strong incentive pay rules, clawback rules for bankers (provisions that require executives to return up to three years of compensation if their corporation has issued inaccurate financial statements and their pay was awarded based on those errors) and a requirement that all publicly traded companies disclose information about their political spending.

“More transparency on the part of Wall Street would better serve both our economy and our democracy,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “Shareholders deserve to know how companies are spending their money to influence financial policy. Without transparency there can be no accountability.”

This new call for corporate political spending disclosure adds to increasing pressure on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to act on a 2011 rulemaking petition calling on the agency to require publicly held companies to disclose political spending. The petition has garnered 1.2 million supportive comments from the public, as well as support from members of Congress, former SEC commissioners, state treasurers, investors and academics.

Today’s report also notes that many companies already disclose some or all of their political spending information, so an SEC requirement to do so would be in step with a growing industry practice. This trend has been accelerated by calls from shareholders for more information about company political spending. Since the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which opened the door to unlimited corporate spending in elections, shareholders have filed more than 500 resolutions pertaining to company political activity.

Read the report (PDF).


Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

Democrats Push to Lift Ban on Student Loan Bankruptcy Relief

"Modernizing and clarifying the consumer bankruptcy system is long overdue," said a leader at Public Citizen, one of many groups backing the bill.

Jessica Corbett ·

Fetterman Calls Biden Marijuana Pardons and Reforms a 'BFD'

"Too many lives—and lives of Black and Brown Americans in particular—have been derailed by this criminalization of this plant," the progressive Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and Pennsylvania asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·

Judge's Ruling Puts New York Gun Control Efforts on Path Back to Supreme Court

"Judges award themselves maximal protection against guns and then tell parents around the country that they have no power to keep guns out of daycare," said one critic.

Julia Conley ·

'Next Up? Legalize It': Advocates Cheer Biden Move to Pardon Marijuana Convictions

"This is what pressure and advocacy look like," said anti-poverty activist Joe Sanberg. "This must be the first of many steps to ending our decadeslong failed policies on marijuana."

Brett Wilkins ·

At Least 66 Clinics in 15 States Have Ended Abortion Care Post-Dobbs

Over a third of those facilities have fully closed, meaning patients also lost "access to contraceptive care, STI testing and treatment, and pregnancy care," said a Guttmacher Institute researcher.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo