Elizabeth Warren Continues Hammering Unethical Wall Street Tactics with “Truth in Settlements Act”

1608941_10152153312797489_1335072088_nThe people of Massachusetts are lucky that they get to be represented by a senator like Elizabeth Warren.  I live in Texas, my state’s represented by individuals like Senator Ted Cruz.  I — am not so lucky.

While Elizabeth Warren is far from perfect (she is a politician after all) the best way I can describe her to anyone is — she just makes sense.

When she speaks, I really don’t feel like a politician is speaking (whereas with someone like Ted Cruz I’m constantly looking for the hand shoved up his backside from a tea party leader working him like a puppet, regurgitating whatever they tell him to say).

Not to keep bringing up Ted Cruz (I only do because they were both elected during the same election cycle therefore they’re linked in that way), but it’s clear that his entire intention as United States Senator has been to say and do whatever he can to set himself up for a 2016 presidential run.  Whereas people have talked about Elizabeth Warren possibly being a potential candidate not because she’s used her time in the Senate to set herself up to try to become president (like Cruz has), but simply because just by being who she is she’s gained quite a lot of national notoriety and support.

And although Warren currently says she will not be a 2016 presidential contender, I’d venture to guess there’s still a chance she could step in and go for it if Hillary Clinton chooses not to run.

Either way, we need somebody with Warren’s drive to take a leading role in Washington.  Take for instance her recent push, a bipartisan bill aimed at adding transparency to these deals between government agencies and shady banks caught behaving unethically.

As it stands now, when the government and these banks agree upon a settlement for “punishment,” most (if not all) of the details of the deal are kept private where the public has little or no knowledge of what really went on.

Well, this new bill would put an end to that.  If passed, the bill:

  • Requires federal agencies to explain in written public statements that reference a settlement amount whether any portion of that “sticker price” is potentially tax-deductible or includes the cost of “credits.”
  • Requires federal agencies to post basic information about settlements over $1 million on their websites.
  • Requires companies that settle with enforcement agencies to state in their SEC filings whether they have claimed a tax deduction for settlement payments.
  • Requires federal agencies to explain their reasoning publicly any time they deem a settlement confidential.
  • Requires federal agencies to report annual aggregate statistics on confidential settlements.  Increased transparency will help ensure that Congress, citizens and watchdog groups – people like you and me — can hold regulatory agencies accountable for strong and effective enforcement.

And again, this is a bipartisan bill she worked on with Oklahoma Republican Ton Coburn — not exactly the most “moderate” of congressional Republicans.

Like much of what Elizabeth Warren says, this bill also just makes sense.  It goes along with the old adage that if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t worry about the truth coming out.

Senator Warren had a great closing statement about this bill:

“Government agencies work for us, not for the companies they regulate. That means agencies should not be able to cut bad deals and then hide the embarrassing details. The public deserves to know what’s going on.”

And she’s exactly right.  The government works for us, not Wall Street (well, that’s how it’s supposed to work but clearly doesn’t).  It’s time the American people know more about these deals and just how much b.s. these banks that have been busted by our government for behaving unethically are getting away with.

Because like I said, if there’s nothing to hide, then there should be no reason for anyone to oppose a bill that ensures the details of these agreements between unethically behaving banks and our government are made public.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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