Monday, December 21, 2009

McCrisis: The Financial Industry Meltdown and Congressman Bill McCollum

From FDP:

As Bill McCollum Falsely Denies His Own Record in Washington,

John McCain Introduces Legislation to Fix the "Too Big To Fail" Banking Mess

Congressman McCollum Helped Create

The same day former Congressman Bill McCollum falsely claimed that specific financial-services industry legislation he cosponsored and pushed through Congress had nothing to do with the current national economic crisis, U.S. Senator John McCain not only disagreed, but filed his own legislation to reverse McCollum's.

"Either Bill McCollum is deliberately misleading Floridians about his record in Congress, or he's saying that Senator John McCain isn't telling the truth," Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff said.

In 1999, Congressman McCollum cosponsored the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act that prevented banks from taking on riskier investments that could lead to a national financial crisis.

"Even the former chairman of Citibank has recanted his support for McCollum's 1999 law allowing banks and financial institutions to assume enormous financial risks and become 'too-big-to-fail.' Why can't McCollum admit his grave mistake and just apologize for his role in creating today's financial crisis?" Jotkoff asked.

McCollum Falsely Denies His Record
But McCain Calls Him Out While Trying to Fix McCollum's Mess

Former Congressman Bill McCollum defended cosponsoring and eventually pushing the repeal through Congress, Wednesday.

"McCollum says the banker-friendly policies he backed on [the] banking and housing committee in congress contributed in no way to the economic collapse." (St. Petersburg Times/, The Buzz Political Blog, 12/16/09)

"'I don't believe when I was there that we created the foundation in those years for the problems that came after I left in 2000,' he [McCollum] said. ... But on Wednesday, Republican Sen. John McCain proposed reining in Wall Street by resurrecting the Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banking - the same law McCollum favored repealing as a congressman in 1999. ... As a member of Congress from 1980 to 2000, McCollum served on the committee overseeing financial services and co-sponsored 1999 legislation that tore down the Depression-era firewall between investment banks and commercial banks." (St. Petersburg Times, 12/17/09)

Before this week's animosity, McCollum campaigned for McCain, appearing on stage with the former GOP Presidential nominee in Jacksonville and Orlando. (Sun-Sentinel, 9/16/08)

McCollum Didn't Stop Unraveling Our Economy After He Left Congress

McCollum cashed in on his time in Washington to become a lobbyist and lobby for mortgage policies eventually outlawed as scams.

"After he left Congress, McCollum lobbied for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America and for a nonprofit with a downpayment assistance program that was later outlawed by Congress after the Internal Revenue Service dubbed it a 'scam.'" Even still, "At a Tampa fundraiser Wednesday, McCollum defended his lobbying and record in Congress" (St. Petersburg Times, 12/17/09)

A former chairman of one of the same financial institutions that McCollum lobbied for after leaving Congress now recants his advocacy for the legislation McCollum cosponsored and called it a "mistake" for America.

"Former Citibank Chairman John S. Reed apologized in a Nov. 6 interview for helping engineer the bank's merger with Travelers and for his role in building a company that took $45 billion in U.S. assistance. Reed also recanted his advocacy of the repeal of Glass-Steagall. The 1998 merger depended on Congress repealing Glass- Steagall before a five-year deadline that otherwise would have required Travelers to sell its insurance underwriting business. "We learn from our mistakes," Reed said in the interview. [BusinessWeek 12/15/2009]

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