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Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) Inducted Into Sense on Cents Hall of Shame

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 24, 2011 7:17 AM |

Michael Grimm. Do you ever wonder how certain individuals in Washington might be so tone deaf as to miss the din and the roar of the American public screaming for increased transparency in our financial markets? Might these individuals be doing the bidding of the financial industry in return for the payoff of political campaign contributions?

How else could we explain why any individual in our nation today would promote a policy which would stifle the pursuit of badly needed transparency and real integrity in our financial markets?

We learned a few months back that Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) were central figures in blocking a badly needed and critical piece of legislation to protect whistleblowers. I wrote at that point, Now We Know Who Blocked The Whistleblower Protection Act to highlight that display of ignominy. Who now takes his place in the Sense on Cents Hall of Shame “Clown Wing” with the aformentioned charlatans? Enter stage right, U.S. Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY).

Do Grimm and others who would support a proposed piece of legislation to gut whistleblower protections believe that America neither needs nor wants real transparency and unbridled integrity throughout our markets and across our economic landscape? How does Grimm think the massive lack of transparency has impacted our country over the last decade?

Let’s send a message to Grimm and every other representative who might think about supporting his bill. Thanks to the National Whistleblower Center for drafting the message to Tell House Members to Stop Anti-Whistleblower Bill,

Republicans in the House of Representatives have proposed a radical anti-whistleblower bill (the Grimm bill) that, if passed, will completely undermine the ability of corporate whistleblowers to expose fraud and violations of securities laws.

Best described as the Madoff-Enabling Act, the proposed House Republican Amendments to the Securities Exchange Act will:

-Punish employees who disclose violations of the Acts directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It forces whistleblowers to inform corporate wrongdoers that they are violating the law before contacting law enforcement, giving the wrongdoers the opportunity to hide their misconduct from investors.

-Strip the Act of the current mandatory rewards provisions designed to encourage employees to risk their careers and expose large multi-million dollar, corporate fraud against shareholders.

-Allow corporations to use limitless shareholder funds to oppose whistleblowers, while imposing burdensome restrictions on the rights of corporate whistleblower employee to hire their own attorneys.

-Explicitly authorize corporations to establish “employment agreements” and “codes of conduct,” restricting the right of employees to notify investors or the SEC about potential fraud. Firing whistleblowers under these newly established corporate codes “shall not constitute retaliation.”

-Require the SEC to notify the company that it is being investigated, tipping off the wrongdoers.

This bill is perhaps the most anti-investor bill ever proposed.  It would destroy important reforms contained in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 and strip corporate employees of their ability to expose fraud.

Did the new House leadership forget about the frauds?  Have they forgotten there was a Wall Street meltdown?  Did they forget that whistleblowers were fired?  Did they forget that the SEC failed to do its job?

report by the National Coordinating Committee for MultiEmployer Plans (representing over 10 million workers, retirees, and their families) shows how widespread fraud is on Wall Street and the compelling need to protect employees who risk their careers blowing the whistle on fraud against shareholders.

The need for those campaign funds that come from Wall Street’s coffers must be mighty strong for Grimm and others who would support this legislation.

Is this the best that America gets? Why is it that the American media of all stripes lets this type of legislation fly under the radar? I know, ask a stupid question.

As a registered Independent and one who typically leans fairly hard to the right politically, I am ashamed and embarrassed that our nation has to suffer from the likes of those who would sacrifice principle for personal political gain. I realize all too well that politicians of all stripes suffer from that malady, but our nation as a whole is the biggest loser.

All we need to do to realize that is rewind the economic videotape of the last few years.

Larry Doyle

Thanks to the Sense on Cents supporter who brought this story to my attention.

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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