My colleagues and I have formed a probono group and policy initiative with a goal to restore the rule of law to Wall Street and accelerate our work to “greatly reduce the risk and cost of future financial crisis.”
Gary Aquirre, William Black, Michael Winston and I are the founding members of Bank Whistleblowers United. Each of us has somewhat similar backgrounds in the general field of finance. We also share the distinction of being whistleblowers. We each called the banks/regulatory agencies we were with to account and were dismissed for telling the truth about the fraud and deception each was perpetrating on the American public. As a result, not any of us are employable in finance and financial regulation.
Each of us proved correct in our warnings when we blew the whistle. The failure to heed our warnings caused great harm to this country. Furthermore, we are united in our desire to save, not destroy, finance as a means of saving our country. We also believe that fundamental change is urgently needed to allow honest bankers to prosper. We believe in constructive action and will aid any president of any party or philosophy who wishes to implement real change to finance and to restore the rule of law to Wall Street.
We also share similar concerns that our government is again allowing the TBTF banks the leeway to repeat the financial debacle of 2008. To prevent this from happening, we need your help and support to bring our proposals to the attention of our elected and soon-to-be elected officials as well as more of the public. We want your voice and ours to make a difference and it will if we speak out as a united force.
As our friend, William Black says in his New Economic Perspectives, January 29th post, “every financial firm claims that it now wants to make integrity their credo.” Well that may be what they say, but it’s not what they do. Talk is cheap.
And so, our group has released four documents outlining our plan and calling for action from legislators and key decision makers. The first outlines our proposals, of which all but one could be implemented by President Obama or his successor, within a 60 day timeframe without any new legislation having to go into effect.
These steps are practical applications designed to “restore“ the rule of law to Wall Street. Many of the proposals should not be controversial. For example, we ask that the mandatory criminal referral process be restored in every federal agency. This process was largely dismantled under previous administrations, and has been cited as one of the contributing factors leading to no major prosecutions coming out of the financial crisis.
We are not asking that candidates support all of our recommendations. We are only asking candidates to identify those proposals which they will support.
The second document more fully explains the proposals and asks candidates to pledge, in writing, that they will implement the portions of the plan they specify to be provisions they support.
The third asks each candidate to not take campaign contributions from the banks that are responsible for the 2008 debacle, which essentially includes all of the largest banks in the U.S. that have paid large settlements related to wrongdoing.
The fourth document outlines who we are and why we formed this group. As one of our founding members, William Black, says in his call to action, which has been published in numerous posts, “We cannot, however, in good conscience fail to act now given the urgency of the problems caused by the collapse of personal accountability for Wall Street elites. Our economy and our democracy are both imperiled by that collapse and require urgent redress.”
Each of us is asking everyone we know to help us get these proposals to every candidate, every present official in office, the media, and the public. Please ask the candidates you support to go on record and support our initiatives and our campaign financing pledge.
It is critical we act now to get the attention of those coming in to office. There is too much at stake .