Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow

From THINK PROGRESS ECONOMY:

A new Stop Snitchin campaign to deter would-be informants, in this case against people speaking up against crimes on Wall Street, is quietly taking shape, this time far from the media’s eye.

Financial experts and academics agree that strong whistleblower regulations could have prevented the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and indeed much of the financial crisis if employees at firms engaged in fraudulent activity had spoken up early or had reported complex crimes to the appropriate authorities. Employees at firms at the center for the financial crisis, including troubled lender Countrywide, have cited intimidation and other illicit tactics as the reason few people spoke up as whistleblowers. Since the old whistleblower laws provided for weak legal protections for informants and relatively rare rewards, the Dodd-Frank financial reform law passed last year revamped the system with new rights for informants blowing the whistle on financial crimes.

Bank lobbyists and Fox News, however, have made such protections enemy number one.

Original movie poster

Fox News, part of a company known for its legal harassment tactics against whistleblowers, has promoted a smear campaign against financial whistleblower protections for months. In this recent segment, Fox Business reporter Charlie Gasparino, who refers to financial whistleblowers as “rats,” claimed that the new Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections are hurting the big banks […]

…snip…

Trade associations for the big banks, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, lobbied aggressively against the new rules, but failed to stop them. Now, bank lobbyists are attempting a rollback.

Freshman Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) sponsored a bill specifically to repeal the whistleblower law. Grimm’s legislation is a wish-list for corrupt banks: it would not only reduce rewards for reporting fraud, but would force whistleblowers to report crimes to their supervisors before notifying authorities. Consumer groups have decried Grimm’s proposal as an “extreme approach that would silence would-be whistleblowers, endanger critical inside informants, undermine investigations, hamstring enforcement at the [Securities and Exchange Commission] and [Commodity Futures Trading Commission], and provide lawbreaking financial firms with an escape hatch from accountability.”

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), a lawmaker-turned bank lobbyist-turned lawmaker again, is among the team of four legislators working to whip up support for the legislation. Stivers and Grimm have been showered with contributions from top Wall Street firms, including JP Morgan and Bank of America.

Point of Law, a blog hosted by a think tank run by far right billionaire investors, has promoted attacks on the new whistleblower laws. The Chamber, which counts firms like Fidelity and AIG as major contributing members, has testified in support of Grimm’s bill.

While it is unlikely that Grimm’s measure is passed and signed into law as a stand-alone bill under President Obama, it could be forced through by the Republicans using a budget stand-off or another debt ceiling hostage situation.

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16 Comments

Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Fox News, humor, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

16 responses to “Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow

  1. John Erickson

    Yeah, my arch-enemy is Citicorp, but I gotta say that any legislation that BofA is against, I’m totally for.
    “Report inconsistencies to their super5visors”? Oh yeah, THERE is a fast track to nowhere. “Hey boss, I notice the CEO is siphoning billions out of our overseas accounts. Clean out my desk immediately? Okay!” I only ever trusted one boss, and that was because he hated Citicrop more than I did (until they canned me).

  2. What will conservatives do with only ass clowns on the ticket?

  3. I should see if someone’s calling Grimm’s bill a fairy tale already.

  4. Those chislers and moneychanger just had to go right back to the foul practices that lead to the Bush Depression, the one that just keeps on giving. So in this year of the Arab Spring, we now will have the Wall Street Fall. 400 people own assets equal to the lower half of the country. My stock pick would be in pitchforks and torch fuel.

    • i’d invest in pitchforks and torch fuel, but chances are that halliburton and/or koch industries probably have already taken over those markets so they can make a profit on protests.

  5. jeb

    It’s a concerted attack against Dodd-Frank. They really hate that legislation. I even heard their latest meme is the BofA’s new $5 fee for using the debit card is a result of this legislation because the Dems tell the financial firms they can’t charge retailers so BofA and other companies new fees being put on consumers are the Dems fault for trying to tell companies how to do business. It’s never the fault of the greedheads.

    • That’s exactly what my wife thinks. She and I are now in the process of taking our money out of BofA. In a month, we’ll be done with the place.

    • i closed my account as soon as my old bank was bought up by b of a. that was probably 15 years ago, and my reason then was that i heard that they would no longer allow their tellers to sit while they were working. it was their way of getting rid of the older tellers who had been there for many years and were making too much money (like tellers are ever overpaid!). years before that, i had worked as a teller for the bank that had been bought out by b of a, and it pissed me off that they would get rid of people in such an underhanded way. typical heartlessness by a huge greedy corporation. when i closed my accounts, i told them exactly why i was closing them, and more or less told them to kiss my ass.

  6. Hell yes protect the whistleblower!

  7. Whistleblowers and regulation get in the way of the job creators. Ask Madoff.

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