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NY Times Exposes Wall Street-Washington Revolving Door

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 3, 2014 9:41 AM |

There are very few issues in our nation today that can generate such a uniformly vehement reaction as the practices encompassed within the Wall Street-Washington revolving door.

The American public may often be duped by those politicians and lobbyists well schooled in the art of working backroom deals, but the blatant elitist crony style behaviors captured in yesterday’s New York Times article, Law Doesn’t End Revolving Door on Capitol Hill, should surprise nobody.

Laws written that would appear to mitigate the effect of influence peddling only to allow the cronies to navigate through easily drafted loopholes might seem to be the stuff of third world banana republics but are now standard operating procedure within a world unto itself, aka Washington DC.

The American public gets this as evidenced by the 175 overwhelmingly derisive comments generated by that article. 

Having reviewed all of the comments, I believe there was only one that was accepting of the corrosive, corruptible status quo. The comments also confirm the fact, as recently laid out to me by an individual who runs an online “get out the vote” initiative, that right now the American public truly hates Washington and has little regard for Wall Street.

The issues connected to the revolving door are the ultimate in bipartisan politics. What sort of characters are we talking about who work their way through the revolving door? As evidenced in the article:

The rules allowed Mr. Lavender to join a behind-the-scenes effort to help JPMorgan avoid having to testify at a House hearing in 2012. The hearing focused on the collapse of MF Global, a major New York brokerage firm that was one of JPMorgan’s clients.

On a conference call with fellow lobbyists, one person briefed on the call recalled, Mr. Lavender took aim at the former colleagues who wanted to force JPMorgan executives to testify. The person briefed on the call, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Lavender remarked about his former colleagues: “I should have fired them when I had the chance.”

That’s American business and politics circa 2014. Where is our modern day Ferdinand Pecora, he who exposed the crony corruption leading to the crash of 1929, when we need him?

So if transparency is the great disinfectant, the stench that is building on the other side of the revolving door is so overpowering that it is eroding the very foundation of our national fabric.

How might this ever change? To think that those lining their own pockets and engaged in associated practices will address the revolving door in private is naive. What then shall we do? A number of things but, in my opinion, the onus is truly on the media and the public to create overwhelming pressure so as to expose the people and practices involved. Who is doing just that? A bipartisan grassroots organization known as Represent.Us.

Just as 60 Minutes did an embarrassing expose on the practice of insider trading atop Capitol Hill, those working at Represent.Us are similarly engaged in bringing political corruption into the public arena. Only after the issues and individuals are fully exposed might we then start to promote and demand true reform without loopholes.

As a start, these reforms should include an Office of Whistleblower Protection so that corruption is exposed. Beyond that, I also believe we need a privately staffed and run Financial Regulatory Review Board that would bring real accountability to our financial cops, transparency to our legislators, and closure to this revolving door once and for all. Ultimately, though, our nation needs a constitutional amendment so as to overturn the Citizens United decision and bring about meaningful campaign finance reform.

What do you think?

Larry Doyle

Please order a copy of my book, In Bed with Wall Street: The Conspiracy Crippling Our Global Economy.

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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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