Just two years ago, with the help of a minority of Democrats, the Republican-led House passed legislation that gutted many important financial regulations put in place by Dodd-Frank. “Republican lawmakers and the banking industry cheered,” reported The New York Times, “[t]he legislation also offers a reprieve to big — but not behemoth — banks, allowing large institutions like American Express and BB & T to no longer be deemed ‘systemically important’ and subject to stricter oversight”. Rick's colleagues like Maxine Waters strongly objected to those in the Democratic Party that would endorse the Republican-led regulatory rollback saying, “[i]t takes our financial system in the wrong direction, and serves as a giveaway to banks that are already posting record profits”.
Nevertheless, Rick voted yes, handing the Republicans, the banking industry, and Donald Trump a big legislative victory. “Dodd-Frank was something they said could not be touched. And honestly, a lot of great Democrats knew that it had to be done and they joined us in the effort,” Trump said. Back at home, Rick had to play defense.
“The existing rules will continue to help prevent the next financial crisis,” Rick nervously said, trying to reassure KUOW's Bill Radke that ripping out oversight on banks has no ill-effect on economic stability. Trying to frame his vote as helping out “local credit unions and local community banks” in the Second District, Rick simply parroted the line from the banking industry used to convince conservative Democrats to join Trump's Republicans on this disastrous bill.
While this vote may have come as a surprise to some, for observers of the incumbent's record this comes as no surprise. During the drafting of Dodd-Frank in 2010, Rick voted down many amendments that would have strengthened regulations on Wall Street, including:
- “An amendment sought to allow bankruptcy courts to extend repayment periods; reduce excessive interest rates and fees; and to adjust the principal balance of the mortgage to a home's fair market value as necessary, in order to prevent foreclosure and to allow the VA, FHA, and RHS to take steps to facilitate mortgage modifications.” — Rick voted no.
- “An amendment sought to allow the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission the authority to ban abusive swaps; sought to amend any proposed commercial risk definition to disregard balance sheet risk; and sought to maintain that any illegal swap entered into after enactment of this Act would not be valid.” — Rick voted no.
- “An amendment provides rules toward the equitable governance of clearing houses and swap exchange facilities.” — Rick voted no.
In all of these votes, Rick joined a minority of Democrats who voted with Republicans to shield the banking industry from oversight not long after the financial crash that caused millions of houses to be foreclosed.
Why would Rick do this? Well, it may have something to do with the tens of thousands of dollars he has received from banks, investment firms, and financial trade groups throughout his career. In the 2000s, Rick saw dozens of contributions from Wall Street as they backed the campaigns that were instrumental in cementing his incumbency. As noted in Rick's Receipts, a 2001 study concluded “[m]any candidates for Congress in 2000 could not compete with campaigns backed by wealthy interests”. It's safe to say that without the sort of wealthy interests like Washington Mutual and the American Bankers Association behind Rick Larsen, he may not have ever seen the same degree of early electoral success.
While the cash from Wall Street may have decreased over the course of the last two decades, Rick's campaigns have instead turned to other sources like the military-industrial complex and fossil fuel industry for money. Nevertheless, the heavy influence Wall Street has had on the incumbent can certainly be seen in his votes and fundraising record. Yet, to this day, he continues to claim that he is at the helm of a grassroots campaign. Laughable.
In 2010, Wells Fargo contributed twice to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen for a total of $2,000. 💰💰
Wells Fargo to pay $3 billion to U.S., admits pressuring workers in fake-accounts scandal
“Wells Fargo will pay the penalties to the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission and enter into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement during which the San Francisco-based bank will continue to cooperate with any ongoing government investigations, Justice Department officials said.
As part of the deal, Wells Fargo admitted that between 2002 and 2016 it pressured employees to meet ‘unrealistic sales goals that led thousands of employees to provide millions of accounts or products to customers under false pretenses or without consent, often by creating false records or misusing customers’ identities,’ the department said in a statement.” — Reuters: February 21, 2020
Sacramento sues Wells Fargo, says bank discriminated against Black and Latino borrowers
“‘These illegal practices suppressed property values in minority and low income communities in Sacramento, reduced the city's property tax revenues, and increased the cost of providing municipal services such as police, fire fighting and code enforcement,’ the city's lawsuit reads.
Four confidential witnesses who are former Wells Fargo employees told the city there was ‘a wide pattern and practice at Wells Fargo in which employees intentionally steered minority borrowers into higher cost loans because of their race and ethnicity.’”— The Sacramento Bee: February 26, 2018
Between 2012 and 2014, HSBC North America contributed twice to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen for a total of $4,500. 💰💰💰💰💵
HSBC to pay over $100 million for cheating clients
“One of the ex-bankers involved, Mark Johnson, has already been found guilty of conspiracy and wire fraud. The former head of foreign exchange cash trading at HSBC faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
HSBC ‘is responsible for the conduct of its employees’ and ‘must not be permitted to benefit from the fraud committed by bank personnel,’ said Inspector General Jay Lerner of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.” — CNN: January 19, 2018
HSBC to pay $1.9bn in US money laundering penalties
“A US Senate investigation said the UK-based bank had been a conduit for ‘drug kingpins and rogue nations’.
Money laundering is the process of disguising the proceeds of crime so that the money cannot be linked to the wrongdoing.” — BBC: December 11, 2012
Between 2006 and 2008, Morgan Stanley contributed three times to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen for a total of $4,500. 💰💰💰💰💵
Emails in fraud case show Morgan Stanley execs mocking value of securities before sale
“Last month, e-mails surfaced in a 2010 New York civil fraud case showing that the firm’s executives sold the instruments to a Taiwanese bank for hundreds of millions of dollars knowing the impending collapse of the US housing market made the securities a hazardous investment – and they laughed about it.
An email by Philip Blumberg, a Morgan Stanley vice president, suggested disparaging names for the product known as a collaterized debt obligation (CDO). He proposed names, such as ‘Nuclear Holocaust,’ ‘Subprime Meltdown’ and even simply ‘Shitbag.’ Ultimately, the group of securities that were sold to the China Development Industrial Bank (CDIB) in Taiwan was named STACK 2006-1.” — Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists: February 12, 2013
In 2005, the New York Mercantile Exchange contributed $5,000 to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen. 💰💰💰💰💰
Former Nymex Director Slapped with Prison Time
“A floor trader who served on the board of the New York Mercantile Exchange agreed to serve five months in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to fraud and evidence tampering related to commodities trading.” — CNBC: April 8, 2008
Between 2009 and 2015, Citigroup contributed four times to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen for a total of $5,000. 💰💰💰💰💰
Citigroup pays $158 million in mortgage fraud pact
“CitiMortgage ‘admits, acknowledges and accepts responsibility’ for misleading the government into insuring risky home loans, according to settlement papers filed in U.S. District Court in New York. Investigators said the misconduct lasted for more than six years.
The civil fraud case is part of a crackdown by the Department of Justice against lenders it believes contributed to the housing crisis by originating risky home loans that should not have been made, insured or sold.” — Reuters: February 17, 2012
Top investment banks provide billions to expand fossil fuel industry
“The data shows the most aggressively expanding coal-mining operations, oil and gas companies, fracking firms and pipeline companies have received $713.3bn in loans, equity issuances and debt underwriting services from 2016 to mid-2019.
Between 2009 and 2016, JPMorgan Chase contributed five times to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen for a total of $6,500. 💰💰💰💰💰💰💵
JPMorgan to pay $614 million to settle mortgage fraud case
“JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, is admitting in the settlement that for more than a decade it approved thousands of loans that were not eligible for insurance by the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs, the department said in a statement.” — CNBC: February 4, 2014
Special Investigation: How America’s Biggest Bank Paid Its Fine for the 2008 Mortgage Crisis—With Phony Mortgages!
“Jamie Dimon and his underlings at JPMorgan Chase have perfected this dark art at America’s largest bank, which boasts a balance sheet one-eighth the size of the entire US economy.
After JPMorgan’s deceitful activities in the housing market helped trigger the 2008 financial crash that cost millions of Americans their jobs, homes, and life savings, punishment was in order. Among a vast array of misconduct, JPMorgan engaged in the routine use of “robo-signing,‘ which allowed bank employees to automatically sign hundreds, even thousands, of foreclosure documents per day without verifying their contents.” — The Nation: October 23, 2017
Between 2011 and 2016, UBS America contributed three times to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen for a total of $7,500. 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💵
UBS ordered to pay $5.1 billion fine for helping wealthy French clients evade tax authorities
“Investigators say the Swiss bank sent employees to solicit business from wealthy executives or athletes during sports or music events in France, urging them to place their money in Switzerland.
The assets illegally concealed by French clients in Switzerland in 2004-2012 allegedly amounted to some 10 billion euros ($10.75 billion).” — MarketWatch: February 20, 2019
Between 2003 and 2008, Washington Mutual contributed eleven times to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen for a total of $12,000. 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰
WaMu's Failure Was Fueled By Fraud and Greed: Panel
“It's a quest that led employees to engage fraud, and ultimately led to WaMu's failure in September of 2008, a Senate subcommittee alleges.
Along the way, the thrift infected the secondary mortgage market with billions of dollars in bad loans.
Those are the findings of year and a half long investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.” — CNBC: April 12, 2010
Between 2010 and 2017, Goldman Sachs contributed eight times to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen for a total of $14,000. 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰
Goldman Sachs is reportedly in talks to admit guilt, pay $2 billion fine to settle probe into Malaysian investment fund
“Goldman raised $6.5 billion for the governme.nt fund and netted roughly $600 million in fees through the deal. US authorities said that much of the money raised was stolen by a Malaysian government adviser, Jho Low, and two Goldman bankers, and that the firm did little to curb the actions.” — Business Insider: December 19, 2019
Goldman Sachs Finally Admits it Defrauded Investors During the Financial Crisis
“From 2005 to 2007, Goldman issued and underwrote many mortgages and securities that had been backed by residential loans borrowed by consumers with shoddy credit ratings. That helped tip the economy into recession after the housing bubble burst in 2007, leading to a tsunami of foreclosures and delinquencies. ” — Fortune: April 11, 2016
Between 2004 and 2019, the American Bankers Association contributed nineteen times to Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen for a total of $27,500. 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💵
Can we trust Rick Larsen to fight for a fair economy and against Wall Street's fraudsters?
Can we trust him to take on the financial industry responsible for the Great Recession—while taking tens of thousands of dollars from them?
Can we trust him to take on big banks that line the pockets of their shareholders with the profits made from fraudulent loans and deals—while taking tens of thousands of dollars from them?
Can we trust him to take on the powerful wealthy interests whose goal is to further deregulate Wall Street—while taking tens of thousands of dollars from them?