DNC Chief: GOP Wall St. Shake Down ‘A New Low’

A reported Republican initiative to seek campaign contributions among bankers and financial industry moneymen in exchange for a promise to block financial reforms puts the GOP squarely on the side of Wall Street over Main Street, according to the chairman of the Democratic Party.

Republicans are making their case among financial industry executives that they represent the best chance to derail the pro-consumer reforms that President Obama and other Democrats are moving, according to news reports. Those reforms include creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) designed to Protect Americans from abuses that helped lead to the 2008 economic meltdown.

The House has approved the reforms; action is still pending in the Senate. The ability for the GOP to block reforms was enhanced Thursday with the swearing in of Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts. Brown, who won the Jan. 19 special election for the seat once held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), gives Senate Republicans their crucial 41st vote needed to filibuster Democrats.

“The GOP’s brazen appeal to Wall Street for campaign contributions in exchange for Republicans’ vow to block financial reform is a new low for Congressional Republicans who’ve already seen their brand deteriorate over the last year as a result of their continued insistence at putting the interests of Wall Street over the needs of Main Street,” says DNC Chairman Tim Kaine. “[House Republican Leader] John Boehner’s efforts to cut a deal with Wall Street in exchange for carrying their water in Congress demonstrates what we’ve said all along – that the GOP’s interests extend to no one other than themselves and their special interest friends and they will stop at nothing to win in November.”

At least one report casts the alliance between bankers and the GOP as one of regret among the financial industry for supporting Obama in 2008. The finance, insurance and real estate industries gave $39.5 million to Obama in the campaign, versus $28.9 million for Republican nominee John McCain, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics in Wasington.

Kaine, a former Virginia governor, says this Republican effort “is far from an isolated incident.”

“We’ve seen the GOP grow increasingly dependent on their relationship with the very same people who sent this economy into a tailspin and decimated bank accounts and balance sheets for families and businesses across this country,” he says. “Less than two months ago, Republicans met behind closed doors with 100 banking lobbyists to strategize how best to block financial regulatory reform and now Republicans are delivering the bill for services rendered.

“But, the real people paying the price for this quid pro quo between Republicans and Wall Street are the main street Americans who are trying desperately to rebuild after eight years of reckless behavior in the financial industry — cheered on by a Republican Congress and the Bush administration,” Kaine adds. “While the president and Democrats are fighting for them, Republicans are teaming up with the very people whose reckless behavior nearly toppled our economy. The American people have every right to be disgusted by this activity by Republicans.”

The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.

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