Senate Democrats

Reid Spokesman: McConnell and Cornyn Should Reveal What They Discussed In Backroom Meeting With Bank Executives

Washington, DCSpokesman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, Jim Manley, released the following statement today calling on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and NRSC Chair Jon Cornyn to reveal what they discussed with bank executives in secret, backroom meetings related to Wall Street reform:

“Senators McConnell and Cornyn should immediately reveal what they discussed earlier this month during secret, closed-door meeting with Wall Street executives in New York City.  Years of greed and excess on Wall Street cost 8 million jobs and trillions in wealth for middle-class families and small businesses.  Since Republicans appear to be conducting backroom negotiations with these same people who took our economy to the brink of collapse, the public deserves to know what secret deals and carve-outs Republicans are offering Wall Street executives in exchange for their support.”
Yesterday, Republican Leader McConnell dodged questions about what Republicans discussed behind closed doors with Wall Street executives earlier this month.  See here for the video – LINK


Republican Leader McConnell just can’t seem to give a straight answer on what was discussed in his closed-door, private meeting with Wall Street executives.  Who was in the meeting?  Did they discuss tactics to defeat Wall Street reform?  And what do their Senate colleagues think of this meeting?  Do they support Senate Republican leadership efforts to kill reform on behalf of the banking industry?  With so many questions, it’s easy to see why Senator McConnell struggles to provide direct answers on what happened in his meeting with Wall Street executives.


McConnell Just Doesn’t Want To Discuss What Happened In The Meeting With Wall Street Executives. In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Republican Leader McConnell refused to disclose the details of what he and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Senator Cornyn discussed with Wall Street executives.  Anchor Candy Crowley pressed McConnell for details of the meeting and asked, “‘But what did the Wall Street people tell you?’ ‘Well, they have concerns about the bill,’ the Senate minority leader explained, adding that he thought the Senate ought to ‘go back to the drawing board’ and fix the legislation.”  [CNN Political Ticker, 4/19/10]

McConnell Took Cornyn – Head Of The Senate GOP’s Political Arm – To The Meetings Simply Because Cornyn Will “Be Voting On This Issue.”  “Pressed by Crowley about how Cornyn’s involvement, at least created the appearance that Republicans were playing politics with the issue of reform, McConnell denied Obama’s accusation. ‘Well, look, we were talking about financial regulation, as everybody in the country is talking about it,’ the top Senate Republican said…. ‘Why was Sen. Cornyn there?,’ Crowley queried. ‘Candy, [Obama] is the one who is trying to politicize this issue. We are the ones who are trying to get it right,’ he replied. Crowley pressed McConnell again about Cornyn’s attendance at the meeting.” [CNN Political Ticker, 4/19/10]


McConnell, Cornyn “Explain” To Hedge Fund Leaders What Wall Street Reform Means. “As a financial reform bill starts to take shape in Washington, two key lawmakers came to New York City last week to explain what it means for Wall Street, and how financial executives might help prevent some of its least market-friendly aspects from becoming law by electing more Republicans, FOX Business Network has learned. About 25 Wall Street executives, many of them hedge fund managers, sat down for a private meeting Thursday afternoon with two of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in Congress: Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and John Cornyn, the senior senator from Texas who runs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, one of the primary fundraising arms of the Republican Party.” [FOX Business, 4/12/10]

McConnell, Cornyn Explain To Wall Street Executives How To Defeat Wall Street Reform. “Both McConnell and Cornyn listened to numerous complaints the executives have with the bill.…The Senators explained they can’t just oppose the Dodd bill — they need to come up with a reform plan of their own, as they fight its least free-market components, such as the notion that the government can determine which banks are ‘too big to fail.’”  [FOX Business, 4/12/10]

McConnell, Cornyn  “Made It Clear They Need Wall Street’s Help” To Win In November. “In the meantime, they need to increase numbers of Republicans in both the House and the Senate if they are going to make an impact on not just this bill, but other measures to increase Washington’s control of the financial business. To do that they need the support of the financial community. At one point McConnell quoted something he attributed to Democrat Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. McConnell, according to a person who was present, said ‘Barney likes to say ‘Wall Street used to say we have Washington by the (neck), and we’re going to change that.’’ Spokespeople for McConnell and Cornyn didn’t return calls for comment.”  McConnell and Cornyn predicted GOP gains in November, “But in order to assure those gains, and add even more, McConnell and Cornyn made it clear they need Wall Street’s help. ‘There was no arm twisting but they did say that we should feel uncomfortable living in any country where one party has unfettered ability to pass anything including health care and anything else President Obama dreams up,’ said another executive who was present.”  [FOX Business, 4/12/10]

Shelby Told The American Bankers Association That Profitability Was More Important Than Consumer Protection. “Safety and soundness to me trumps everything because if we don’t have a bank that’s viable, if we don’t have a bank that is strong, they’re not loaning money. They can’t take money. They won’t be there long. So I told Senator Dodd and others that that trumps to me, the consumer — finance, protection, whatever.”He continued with,“I believe if you pass legislation, you are going to get some kind of consumer products stuff, finance agency. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that it’s not running out on its own and causing a heck of a lot more trouble to the banking system,” said Shelby. [Speech Before American Bankers Association, emphasis added, 3/18/10]

Shelby: If Republicans Were In Charge, Bankers “Wouldn’t Have To Worry” About A Consumer Protection Agency. “’We could get a good bill, we could get a sweeping bill, we could get a substantive bill, or we could get no bill,’ Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) told a conference of bankers in Washington….He reiterated a number of his longstanding positions on overhaul legislation, including opposition to an independent consumer agency with broad authority to protect consumers from abuses. Shelby, who received repeated applause from the crowd, told the bankers that if there were 59 Senate Republicans ‘you wouldn’t have to worry’ about a new consumer agency.” [Dow Jones, via NASDAQ, 3/18/10]

•  Republicans Negotiations With Banking Industry Have “Intensified.”  “Talks between Republicans and bankers have intensified. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, went to New York last week for several fund raisers and met with the Association of Mortgage Investors. On Tuesday, as it became clear that Sen. Lincoln wasn’t moving toward Republicans on the derivatives issue, Sen. McConnell took to the Senate floor and blasted the Democrats. ‘We must not pass the financial-reform bill that’s about to hit the floor,’ he said. ‘The fact is, this bill wouldn’t solve the problems that led to the financial crisis. It would make them worse.’” [Wall Street Journal, 4/14/10]

Boehner: No Need For Bankers To Talk Deal With “Those Little Punk Staffers.”  “Boehner’s comments come as bankers prepare to descend upon Capitol Hill to press for changes to the bank-reform legislation, which they wouldn’t support in its present form. Boehner said he urged bankers not to be shy when meeting with the lawmaker staff members and to send a message that new regulations and taxes translates to into banks having less available for lending. ‘Don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you and stand up for yourselves,’ Boehner said.” [MarketWatch, 3/17/10]