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“Retire Barney”; Sense on Cents Endorses Sean Bielat

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 30, 2010 9:56 AM |

The Wall Street-Washington incest MUST end.

This coming Tuesday, America has a chance to ring that bell, expose that incest, cleanse the system, and deliver the message loud and clear. The peal of that bell must emanate from the 4th District in the state of Massachusetts.

You do not need to read Sense on Cents to appreciate that many politicians from both sides of the aisle have badly forsaken our nation’s future with misguided and ill-advised policies over the last few decades. Many of these politicians now look to save their skins– if not their souls– by professing a newly found religion with an anti-Wall Street mantel. America, and the residents of the 4th District in Massachusetts, should not be so easily hoodwinked. These politicians, especially Barney Frank, must be held accountable and sent home.

I implore the voters of the 4th District to think long and hard and appreciate that their longstanding elected representative Barney Frank embraced the people and the policies which continue to crush our nation. Which people? What policies? Those which were centered in America’s great financial sinkhole known as Fannie Mae then led by its former CEO Franklin Raines. During my own career on Wall Street, I witnessed Barney’s bear hug of Fannie and Franklin from up close. Do not forget Barney’s desire to ‘roll the dice’ with sub-prime mortgage financing.

Many media outlets will look the other way in holding Barney accountable; I have no interest in that.

In my strong opinion, Fannie Mae was nothing more than a Washington sponsored “Enron on steroids.” Who led the charge on Capitol Hill for the ‘private profit, social loss’ housing monster? Many Democrat and Republican politicos gladly stuck their hands in the Fannie Mae gift bag, but no politician more stridently promoted the programs of Fannie Mae than Barney Frank. Recalling Barney’s work on behalf of Fannie over the years, it was readily apparent to me that he had no understanding of the risks of mispricing capital. For those involved in the private sector and focused on properly pricing risk, the reality of a career politician not appreciating the proper price of capital is not difficult to understand. Regrettably, all of America now pays the price for Barney’s shortcoming and that of so many of his colleagues. While we pay that price, we do not need to and must not suffer from that shortcoming any longer.

I am not endorsing Sean Bielat simply because Barney ran interference for Fannie Mae and its failed socialized housing program for the last few decades. No, my interest in seeing the voters of the 4th District in Massachusetts “retire Barney” is also predicated on events of the last twelve months as well. How so? Where else did Barney fail us? Let’s continue to navigate.

Barney Frank is the chair of the House Financial Services Committee. In that role, he led the charge to supposedly re-regulate Wall Street via the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulatory Reform legislation. Say what you want about that legislation, but let me remind all of America that our pal Barney did not venture close to ‘ground zero’ during this process. Really? How so? As I wrote last March 22nd in my commentary, The BIG Hole in Financial Regulatory Reform:

Why am I so skeptical that Senator Chris Dodd’s proposed Financial Regulatory Reform (for overachievers in the audience, the link connects to the 89-page proposal) will truly change behaviors on Wall Street? For the very simple reason that I have seen no highlighting of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority within the proposed Financial Regulatory Reform. Strike you as a little odd? It strikes me that the Wall Street lobby is hard at work keeping its self-regulator, that being FINRA, right where they want it.

The fact that FINRA is not singled out by name in Dodd’s report is a HUGE red flag. Over and above that, Dodd’s proposal is nothing more than a review of the SEC’s oversight of FINRA. Why only once every three years? A review of the reviewer? That’s accountability? That’s transparency? Not in my book. In my opinion, that’s both a joke and a confirmation that the Wall Street lobby was hard at work to keep the wolves at bay!!

While my commentary last March focused specifically on Chris Dodd, the simple fact is Barney Frank walked very much in lock step with Dodd on this reform. The ultimate 2000-plus page Dodd-Frank Financial Regulatory Reform legislation barely makes mention of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Strike you as a little odd? Yes, me too. Very odd!!

Regrettably, America has come to understand that most political and financial reform is ultimately that in name only.

Neither Dodd nor Frank can say that they were not FULLY apprised of ALL the issues within FINRA. I shared all of my concerns regarding FINRA with the Project on Government Oversight early this year. POGO itself was also looking hard at the structural and practical failings of FINRA. Regular readers of Sense on Cents are well aware of my calls for increased transparency for FINRA. Those calls were echoed by POGO but they fell upon deaf ears in Washington. I wrote in my March commentary:

Perhaps Senator Dodd and his colleagues may want to review the Project on Government Oversight’s thoughts on FINRA in which they call the very concept of self-regulation for Wall Street into question. POGO’s letter to four separate Congressional sub-committees can be found here.

Neither Dodd, Frank, nor anybody else on Capitol Hill ever addressed POGO’s letter and grave concerns. That fact should be the final nail in Barney Frank’s political coffin.

Chris Dodd’s political career is over.

I implore the citizens of the 4th District in Massachusetts to do our nation an enormous service and end Barney Frank’s political career this coming Tuesday.

Sense on Cents strongly endorses Sean Bielat!!

Larry Doyle

P.S. I typically shun from this type of commentary. That said,  given the historic nature of this election and this specific race, I believe it is my civic responsibility to share my feelings and a link to my March commentary. Comments, questions, and constructive criticisms are encouraged and appreciated.

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. As President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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