Sometimes you need to dig deeply to get at the truth. Four hours later, a surprising update on MLG’s Volcker Act vote. Plus, today you get to listen to a taped conversation between a CO progressive and Dem leadership doing the DCCC dirty work. Disgusting.
Before a very revealing video and transcript of a high ranking Democratic House leader trying to arm twist a progressive CO candidate for the House to drop out of the race, some updates on the Dist. 46 Roundhouse race and on Rep. Lujan Grisham’s vote on H.R.4790 – Volcker Rule Regulatory Harmonization Act. To get to the bottom of the Volcker Swamp, took hours. What I found is shocking. And, please….make sure to check out the video link below as the Democrat House leader is caught red-handed. We close with the full video of Macron’s speech to Congress. It is worth watching what elicits applause from the GOP and what elicits silence. The time will come when these sheep will pay for their acquiescence.
HandMaid’s Tale–Hopefully Not a Glimpse to the Future, but… One last thought, speaking of sheep, last night the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale was launched. It makes Democracy Now look like slapstick comedy, but it also sheds light on what our future could look like if we are not vigilant and if we do not resist every encroachment on our freedom. If you haven’t seen it; there is a reason it won virtually every Emmy. It is brilliantly acted and directed, unremittingly grim and well worth your time.
Dist. 46: Romero v Trujillo. Tomorrow watch for a detailed analysis of Rep. Carl Trujillo, his donations, his votes and his missed votes. Trujillo enjoys strong support among many Dems for his faithfully advocating on behalf of a segment of his community that is engaged in negotiations with tribal and pueblo leadership over land, water and road easements. Tomorrow, we will focus on voting record and his corporate funders. In a blog on Tuesday we will introduce his challenger, Andrea Romero. Finally, on Thursday of next week, we will examine the entire water, land easement issue with references to both Romero and Trujillo.
Rep. Lujan Grisham Vote on Volcker Act Revisited. Last week, we reported on a Vox article criticizing Rep. Lujan Grisham for voting in favor of the Volcker Rule which proposes to reduce the burden on small community banks involved in meeting regulatory requirements. The Vox article pointed to how the Volcker Act would raise the limit for enhanced reporting from $50B to $250B. This is half true. The Senate version proposes to do precisely that. The House version apparently does not. But there is oh so much more.
One of the advantages of having immediate access to aides to elected officials is that they actually appreciate opportunities to do the leg work to clarify votes upon which we report. Click here to read the House version (HR 4790). Unless I missed it, there is no reference to raising the ceiling on enhanced regulation and scrutiny. Rep. Lujan Grisham’s aide directed me to the Senate version of the bill and there I got a real eyeful. It is why lobbyists rule Washington and we are left gawking.
The Senate bill S2155 is about a million pages long, filled with definitions, citations, and a bunch of gobbledegook. No one not being paid several hundred dollars an hour would even try to make sense out of it. But I tried. After probably 100 pages (really) of material that I scanned, I noted dozens of phrases stating things like: ‘in all cases remove Bank and replace with financial entity’ or ‘remove $50B and replace with $250B.’ I have learned that the power of the lobbyist is to get into a bill like this and make some seemingly inconsequential changes, changes that can completely change the scope or power of a bill, changes buried in page after page of detail. Any one of those seeming inconsequential revisions could have been of huge consequence. Recall the Trump Tax Plan with handwritten scrawled notes changing key elements of the bill. No one saw those changes, but I fear the reconciliation of the House and Senate version will have last minute edits coming from the banking industry that will ensure they get their way. What is important is that all four of our DC reps understand that we are paying attention.
So what was so interesting about the Senate version?
After about 100 pages I got to Title IV: Tailoring Regulations For Certain Bank Holding Organizations. Read the title again. The law is being tailored for the banks, not for consumers. Title IV doesn’t say: Protecting Consumers from Money Grubbing Capitalists that have No Regard for You. Not in our lifetime. But you get my point. Buried in Title IV are the key changes relieving the “small” community banks from enhanced scrutiny and reporting if their assets are between $50B-$250B. These are unfathomably large numbers that don’t mean much, so I decided to do some research. Who are these banks in need of protection from scrutiny and reporting? First who are they NOT.
- Los Alamos National Bank is one of NM’s largest ‘community’ banks. It has $1.2 B in assets, about 1/50th of the asset limit that already protects legitimately small banks from extra scrutiny.
- Del Norte Credit Union has assets of under $500M, 1/100th the existing limit.
- The State Employees Credit Union has just $323M in assets, 1/150th the existing limit.
These are our local community banks and all of them were already fully covered by prior legislation. They did not need the limit for extra scrutiny raised to $250B as they were far, far below the existing $50B limit. So who are these changes designed to help?
- The Mid-Size Banking Coalition is an association of mid-size banks with over 70,000 branches throughout the nation. Their average holdings are $20B or less than half the ceiling that already exists ($50B). There are zero NM banks in this coalition as our community banks are too small to warrant inclusion.
- In examining the largest banks in the entire US, there are only 11 who will not be covered by the proposed amendment, so essentially this bill would remove from heightened scrutiny all but 11 national banks.
- Among those banks who will suddenly be removed from regulation by lifting of the ceiling: Goldman Sachs ($165B); Morgan Stanley ($129B); Charles Schwab ($199B); Chase Bank ($143B). THESE ARE NOT SMALL COMMUNITY BANKS. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????
Bottom line: raising the ceiling on what level of bank assets would trigger heightened scrutiny is definitely not designed to target small, community banks. None of the NM banks I examined are even remotely close to the existing $50B limit. To be fair to Rep. Lujan Grisham, the bill she voted on did not include the proposed raising of the limit to $250B. But House and Senate versions have now passed and the tricky reconciliation process will be next and you can bet the banking industry lobbyists have their pens ready. Then there will be a House and Senate vote on a merged bill. We need to be vigilant.
Click here to get to a page with the contact information for our US Senators and Reps. Please forward this blog to them or simply write and call to say: “The Volcker rule is NOT protecting small banks, it is removing all but 11 large banks from scrutiny. Among those banks who will suddenly be covered by this lifting of the ceiling: Goldman Sachs ($165B); Morgan Stanley ($129B); Charles Schwab ($199B); Chase Bank ($143B). THESE ARE NOT SMALL COMMUNITY BANKS. Please Vote NO. But it is important that we keep the comments respectful. Ben Ray already voted no, so did Udall. Heinrich missed the vote. Only MLG vote aye and it was on a bill that did not include the language about raising the limit. What we are fearful of is that the reconciled bill will have the language.
In truth, the GOP has the vote regardless of what our NM representatives do, the point is to learn this system and when we retake some semblance of control, our elected officials will know we can’t be bought off and we are paying attention.
The DCCC in Colorado: VERY UGLY
I have written extensively about the operations of the DCCC. In the end, while I understand that the DCCC’s most fundamental charge is to elect Democrats, perhaps that shouldn’t be its sole raison d-etrė. While retaking the House is certainly essential, filling it with DINOS (Democrats In Name Only) could result in our stopping some of Trump’s worst initiatives, but it could never result in anything like passing visionary legislation. It will not result a Congress that will pass a single payer health system or expand Social Security or re-regulate all that is being de-regulated or deal with the private prison-industrial complex or any of a myriad of issues where a progressive presence would result in a more progressive pivot. So you don’t often get to actually hear the powers-that-be yield their power. Click here to listen to the actual conversation between Rep. Hoyer and Levi Tillemann, the progressive CO candidate for the House. The video is quite short and well worth watching.
When you are done with the video below, maybe take an extra minute to write to Rep. Lujan about the DCCC’s continued involvement in essentially undermining Democrats right to choose who their candidate will be in the general elections. Fully sixteen Democratic Senators voted with 50 GOP Senators to pass the Senate version of the Volcker Act. What good does it do to retake the House and Senate if you are electing Democrats who will vote Republican on key bills. This is not ok. Click here to get to a page with the contact information for our US Senators and Rep. Lujan and let Rep. Lujan know that we are not ok with the DCCC’s misbehavior.
Paul & Roxanne