Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act – SEC Claims Immunity From Freedom Of Information Act

So much for transparency.

Under a little-noticed provision of the recently passed financial-reform legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from “surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities.” Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.

That argument comes despite the President saying that one of the cornerstones of the sweeping new legislation was more transparent financial markets. Indeed, in touting the new law, Obama specifically said it would “increase transparency in financial dealings.”

The SEC cited the new law Tuesday in a FOIA action brought by FOX Business Network. Steven Mintz, founding partner of law firm Mintz & Gold LLC in New York, lamented what he described as “the backroom deal that was cut between Congress and the SEC to keep the  SEC’s failures secret. The only losers here are the American public.”

If  the SEC’s interpretation stands, Mintz, who represents FOX Business Network, predicted “the next time there is a Bernie Madoff failure the American public will not be able to obtain the SEC documents that describe the failure,” referring to the shamed broker whose Ponzi scheme cost investors billions.

“The new provision applies to information obtained through examinations or derived from that information,” said SEC spokesman John Nester. “We are expanding our examination program’s surveillance and risk assessment efforts in order to provide more sophisticated and effective Wall Street oversight. The success of these efforts depends on our ability to obtain documents and other information from brokers, investment advisers and other registrants. The new legislation makes certain that we can obtain documents from registrants for risk assessment and surveillance under similar conditions that already exist by law for our examinations. Because registrants insist on confidential treatment of their documents, this new provision also removes an opportunity for brokers, investment advisers and other registrants to refuse to cooperate with our examination document requests.”

Criticism of the provision has been swift. “It allows the SEC to block the public’s access to virtually all SEC records,” said Gary Aguirre, a former SEC staff attorney-turned-whistleblower who had accused the agency of thwarting an investigation into hedge fund Pequot Asset Management in 2005. “It permits the SEC to promulgate its own rules and regulations regarding the disclosure of records without getting the approval of the Office of Management and Budget, which typically applies to all federal agencies.”

Aguirre used FOIA requests in his own lawsuit against the SEC, which the SEC settled this year by paying him $755,000. Aguirre, who was fired in September 2005, argued that supervisors at the SEC stymied an investigation of Pequot – a charge that prompted an investigation by the Senate Judiciary and Finance committees.

The SEC closed the case in 2006, but would re-open it three years later. This year, Pequot and its founder, Arthur Samberg, were forced to pay $28 million to settle insider-trading charges related to shares of Microsoft (MSFT: 26.00 ,-0.16 ,-0.63%). The settlement with Aguirre came shortly later.

“From November 2008 through January 2009, I relied heavily on records obtained from the SEC through FOIA in communications to the FBI, Senate investigators, and the SEC in arguing the SEC had botched its initial investigation of Pequot’s trading in Microsoft securities and thus the SEC should reopen it, which it did,” Aguirre said. “The new legislation closes access to such records, even when the investigation is closed.

“It is hard to imagine how the bill could be more counterproductive,” Aguirre added.

FOX Business Network sued the SEC in March 2009 over its failure to produce documents related to its failed investigations into alleged investment frauds being perpetrated by Madoff and R. Allen Stanford. Following the Madoff and Stanford arrests it, was revealed that the SEC conducted investigations into both men prior to their arrests but failed to uncover their alleged frauds.

FOX Business made its initial request to the SEC in February 2009 seeking any information related to the agency’s response to complaints, tips and inquiries or any potential violations of the securities law or wrongdoing by Stanford.

FOX Business has also filed lawsuits against the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve over their failure to respond to FOIA requests regarding use of the bailout funds and the Fed’s extended loan facilities. In February, the Federal Court in New York sided with FOX Business and ordered the Treasury to comply with its requests.

Last year, the network won a legal victory to force the release of documents related to New York University’s lawsuit against Madoff feeder Ezra Merkin.

FOX Business’ FOIA requests have so far led the SEC to release several important and damaging documents:

•FOX Business used the FOIA to obtain a 2005 survey that the SEC in Fort Worth was sending to Stanford investors. The survey showed that the SEC had suspicions about Stanford several years prior to the collapse of his $7 billion empire.

•FOX Business used the FOIA to obtain copies of emails between Federal Reserve lawyers, AIG and staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in which it was revealed the Fed staffers knew that bailing out AIG would result in bonuses being paid.

Recently, TARP Congressional Oversight Panel chair Elizabeth Warren told FOX Business that the network’s Freedom of Information Act efforts played a “very important part” of the panel’s investigation into AIG.

Warren told the network the government “crossed a line” with the AIG bailout.

“FOX News and the congressional oversight panel has pushed, pushed, pushed, for transparency, give us the documents, let us look at everything. Your Freedom of Information Act suit, which ultimately produced 250,000 pages of documentation, was a very important part of our report. We were able to rely on the documents that you pried out for a significant part of our being able to put this report together,” Warren said.

The SEC first made its intention to block further FOIA requests known on Tuesday. FOX Business was preparing for another round of “skirmishes” with the SEC, according to Mintz, when the agency called and said it intended to use Section 929I of the 2000-page legislation to refuse FBN’s ongoing requests for information.

Mintz said the network will challenge the SEC’s interpretation of the law.

“I believe this is subject to challenge,” he said. “The contours will have to be figured out by a court.”

SEC Financial Regulatory Law H.R. 4173

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2010/07/28/sec-says-new-finreg-law-exempts-public-disclosure/

McAuleys World Comments: Freedom Of Information requests are administered by the Departnent of Justice … Attorney General Eric Holder strikes agian …

TAKE THE TIME TODAY TO CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK:

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

If you have an extra moment let Senators Scott Brown (R, Mass.), Susan Collins (R, Maine) and Olympis Snow (R, Maine) know how you feel.  

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Financial Reform Law Passes – Fittingly Named The “Dodd – Frank” bill

The Financial Reform Law: “Never have the corrupt done so little for so many while shielding the guilty from “true change”.

Posted on June 29, 2010 by mcauleysworld | Edit

The Financial Reform Law: Never have the corrupt done so little for so many while shielding the guilty from “true change”.

False claims and exaggerations about the “proposed changes” to a small segment of America’s financial markets.

McAuley’s World Comments Bolded Blue

But with a few exceptions, the measure avoids dictating to Wall Street what it can and cannot do. The bill does not break up big banks or ban the trading of derivatives. Nor does it significantly streamline the confusing array of financial regulators in Washington.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

True

A flurry of deal making allowed several industries to escape the new system. At the last minute, auto dealers were granted exemptions from new consumer rules, despite their major role in lending. Most mutual fund and insurance companies avoided a ban on some risky trading. Community banks, which make up the vast majority of their industry, got a carve-out months ago.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

True

“This legislation is a failure on both counts,” Sen. Judd Greg  (R-N.H.) said in a statement. “It will not encourage the much-needed stability and confidence in our financial markets. It will not significantly reduce systemic risk in our financial sector.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

True

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) agreed to scale back a controversial provision that would have forced the nation’s biggest banks to spin off their lucrative derivatives-dealing businesses. The proposal had been a particularly thorny issue for Democrats, causing internal divisions that threatened to derail the entire process.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

True. The Democrats prevented the needed reform in the derivatives business, the business that brought down AIG and Lehman Brothers, derivatives based on the “toxic mortgages” produced by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.

Media claims that the “reform” contains the following “significant provisions”:

  • Give the government the power to wind down and seize failing firms

This “provision” extends the Government’s “right” to take over failing businesses using U.S. taxpayer money, instead of letting the companies fail as they should.

  • Create a consumer protection agency under the authority of the Federal Reserve

Oh, please. More on this “eye candy” in just a bit.  

  • Require banks to spin off their riskiest derivatives activities

Window dressing, pure window dressing. The banks can still “own” the “spin offs” and direct their activities. The banks will fund the “spin offs” and if the “spin off” fails financially and cannot repay the parent company, the Federal Government will be standing by with another “bailout” in hand.

  • Curb the ability of firms to trade their funds for their own profit

This writer believes the “curbs” will not be effective in doing what is claimed.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2010/06/whats-the-real-impact-of-the-financial-reform-bill.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pbs%2Fnewshour-headlines+(newshour-headlines)

It (the proposed regulation) also does not re-impose laws similar to the Glass-Steagall Act that passed after the Great Depression (and partially repealed in 1999) that separated the activities of commercial and investment banking.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2010/06/whats-the-real-impact-of-the-financial-reform-bill.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pbs%2Fnewshour-headlines+(newshour-headlines)

True: The regulation does not reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which for months was the cry of the Democrats – “This problem started when Glass Steagal was repealed” …. Well, now that they had the chance, why didn’t the Democrats reinstate Glass Steagal?  

Two major players were left out of the bill and the negotiations the whole time: Mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have already received more than $145 billion in assistance from the taxpayers. Many Republicans — and a few Democrats — were angry that Democrats did not include Fannie and Freddie in the reforms. Many on Capitol Hill remain skeptical that will happen.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2010/06/whats-the-real-impact-of-the-financial-reform-bill.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pbs%2Fnewshour-headlines+(newshour-headlines)

True: Oh so true! The entire financial collapse rests at the feet of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, yet the single piece of legislation produced so far doesn’t even mention Freddie or Fannie. Meanwhile, this same Congress has actually increased Fannie & Freddie’s power. In December, President Obama, by Executive Order, removed the $200 million dollar cap on funds available to Freddie and Fannie and provided these “Agencies” unlimited funding through the Federal Reserve.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/economy/sectors-mainmenu-46/2656-frannie-mae-and-freddie-mac-now-have-a-blank-check  

So, if you thought that the “Great American Financial Reform Act of 2010”, the reform that will protect us from ever having the same type of financial collapse occur again, might just take some type of action against the Agencies that caused the original collapse, well, you would be “dead wrong”. Not one word about Fannie or Freddie, in fact Fannie and Freddie are more independent, less regulated and have greater access to American taxpayer money than at any time before in the history of the Country. Congress refused to implement even the most modest of changes to Fannie & Freddie – to make Fannie & Freddie subject to the Sarbanes Oxley Act or require Freddie and Fannie to file periodic reports with the SEC.

The conference committee votes were 20-11 among House negotiators and 7-5 among Senate negotiators, strictly along party lines. The room erupted into claps and hugs when it was all done, with staffers shaking hands and saying, “big bill.”

TRUE: Mocking Joe Biden’s infamous “Big ******* Deal” comment after the passage of Obama Care against the wishes of the American People.

http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/25/news/economy/Wall_Street_Reform/index.htm

True. A vote right down party lines. This baby has only one parent, this bastard belongs to the Democrats, lock stock and barrel. (The final vote is pending in the Senate and the 3 RINOs in the Senate could well vote in support of their fellow Democrats)

What’s in the Wall Street reform bill – The Media’s Slant  

The final compromise that lawmakers struck will establish a consumer financial protection regulatory bureau inside the Federal Reserve, that will write new rules to protect consumers from unfair or abusive mortgages and credit cards.unfair or abusive mortgages and credit cards.

False: The claim is false because the major premise is false. A large and costly consumer agency will be created at taxpayer expense, however, “the abusive mortgages, credit cards and ATM fees which it will address, will only result in “temporary” changes to how “business is done”. In a matter of months consumers will learn that we are “back to business” as usual. Example: Credit card rates and ATM fees  are not being “rolled back” on a permanent basis. Rate increases and ATM fees will simply be delayed. This writer is willing to predict that Senator Chris Dodd will be back in January 2011, only when he returns he will be lobbying for credit card, ATM and mortgage fee increases on behalf of his “big bank buddies”.

Secondly, who will oversee the Consumer Protection Agency?  The Federal Reserve? The Federal Reserve? Wasn’t the Federal Reserve the entity responsible for overseeing the banks and financial firms that “failed” in the first place?

The final deal will also create a 10-member council of regulators, headed by the Treasury Secretary.

Regulators will be tasked with ensuring banks beef up their capital cushions,

The bill would also establish new procedures for shutting down giant financial firms that are collapsing.

WAIT ONE MINUTE: The proposed regulation does not limit the Government’s power to “take over” or “bailout” but it does delegate the authority to do so. This should remind everyone of the “TARP PROGRAM”. We the people were told we had an emergency, an emergency that required the purchase of a trillion dollars of “Troubled Assets” by the “Troubled Asset Relief Program” or “TARP”. Some 18 months later we now know that not one penny of the fund actually went to buy a single “Troubled” or “toxic asset”. Congress changed the rules after the fact. The same Congress is back and the same Congress People are at it again.

The bill aims to shine a brighter light on some of the different kinds of complex financial products, called derivatives, that are blamed for the problems that forced a bailout of American International Group (AIG, Fortune 500) and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. It would force most derivatives on to clearinghouses and exchanges, to help pinpoint the value of the trades.

FALSE: At best the press claims the regulation “would force most derivatives” when it fact no one knows what percent of the “trades” will be routed into an exchange nor does the proposed “regulation” define how the “trades” will be valued.    

Lawmakers agreed to push many derivatives onto clearinghouses and exchanges that can better pinpoint the value of the securities and create firewall’s between buyers and sellers.

FALSE: The most “risky” of those “agreements” were CDS or Credit Default Swaps, which are transactions that take place directly between “involved parties, parties that don’t require a “firewall”.

They also agreed to allow leeway for financial firms to avoid exchanges and avoid posting collateral on such contracts for so-called commercial end-users,

TRUE: A “back door” to avoid any of the “proposed” regulation in this area.

Additionally, lawmakers embraced a provision that prevents big banks from making risky bets on “nontraditional” derivatives and having access to emergency taxpayer-backed loans. Banks would have to spin off their swaps desk into affiliates, if they want to make such bets.

TRUE: That the banks can and will continue to make such deals through their “affiliates”.

FALSE: That banks won’t have access to “tax payer cash”?  The Banks will be subject to “To Big to Fail” and “take-over” by the Feds as stated above. Those activites are accomplished using “taxpayer cash”.  

Volcker: Just before midnight, lawmakers agreed on a new version of the so-called Volcker Rule, which was first proposed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The measure prevents banks from owning hedge funds and trading for their own accounts.

Lawmakers agreed to gives regulators more specifics and less leeway when it comes to preventing banks from trading for themselves or owning hedge funds. But they also watered it down in several ways: It doesn’t impact insurers. And it allows some proprietary trading in areas, such as government debt, for hedging purposes and small business investments.

As for the ban on banks owning hedge funds, the provision allows Wall Street banks that take commercial deposits to sink as much as 3% of capital in hedge funds or private equity.

FALSE: The “Volker Rule” as originally proposed was gutted. The only resemblance between the originally suggested Volker Rule and that which remains is the name.

http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/25/news/economy/Wall_Street_Reform/index.htm

Consumer protection

Creating a consumer agency: Establishes an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau housed inside the Federal Reserve. Fees paid by banks fund the agency, which would set rules to curb unfair practices in consumer loans and credit cards. It would not have power over auto dealers.

False: The areas being “touted” as a “great benefit” to consumers are shams. Credit Card rates, mortgage terms and limitations on ATM fees are all “temporary” in nature. These items are the “eye candy” being offered to secure popular support for this totally inadequate legislation.   

Credit scores: All consumers have been able to get one free credit report a year from the credit rating agencies. But the bill would also allow a consumer to get an actual credit score along with a report.

WHO CARES: A free credit report and a free credit score. Everyone in the Country has access to free credit reports and a free credit score …. Just check your email.

Interchange fees: Lawmakers want the Fed to crack down on debit card swipe fees, which retailers pay to banks to cover the operational cost of transferring money. The Fed could cap the fees and make them more reasonable and proportional.

False: Cap or temporarily limit? To establish a temporary limit. Again, this writer bets the requests for an increase in fees has already been prepared and Congress has already told their friends in the banking industry when to submit the requests. I’m sure the requests won’t be submitted until after the first week in November 2010.

Banning ‘liar loans’: Lenders would have to document a borrower’s income before originating a mortgage and verify a borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

FALSE – ABSOLUTELY FALSE: This lie, more than any of the other lies, upsets me the most. Liar loans have not been banned. The only limitation on Liar Loans is this; Liar Loans cannot be “bundled” and sold as securities. The banks are free to make and keep as many Liar Loans as they like. As the banks will be subject to “take over” and “bailout” if they are “to big to fail” there will be no “market pressure” to limit these loans. The Congress could eliminate “Liar Loans” tomorrow by instructing the Federal Reserve, yes the Federal Reserve charged with overseeing this “monster”, to rescind the “mortgage underwriting guidelines” that created “Liar Loans” in the first place, but Congress failed to do so. If Congress wished to end “Liar Loans” why didn’t they do so?

***************************************************************************

The Financial Meltdown – who, when, where and why:

Professor Stan Liebowitz: The Real Scandal – http://www.nypost.com/seven/02052008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_real_scandal_243911.htm?page=0

Professor Thomas J DiLorenzo: The CRA Scam and its Defenders: http://www.mises.org/story/2963

John R Lott, Jr : Analysis – Reckless Mortgages Brought Financial Market To Its Knees http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,424945,00.htm

*************************************************************************

Mortgage help for unemployed: Unemployed homeowners with good credit would be eligible for low-interest loans to help them avoid foreclosures. The bill would spend $1 billion on such relief, using funds that had been directed for Troubled Asset Relief Fund bailing out the financial system.

FASLE: This is not a new program but an adaptation of Obama’s failed “mortgage rescue programs” that are already in place.

Fixed-equity annuities: Prohibits tougher federal rules on life insurance products, in which customers pay a lump sum upfront in exchange for monthly income over time, pegged to an index. The Securities and Exchange Commission had been gearing up to step in and start requiring more disclosure for these products, often sold to seniors, that are currently regulated by state insurance commissioners. Lawmakers decided to stop the SEC from tougher federal regulation.

TRUE: The Democrats moved to stop SEC regulation – the Democrats moved to de-regulate.  

Too big to fail

New oversight power: Creates a new 10-member oversight council consisting of financial regulators to look out for major problems at financial firms and throughout the financial system. The Treasury Secretary gains a key role in enforcing tougher regulations on larger firms and watching for systemic risk. The council also has veto power over new rules proposed by new consumer regulator.

Unwinding powers: Gives the FDIC new powers to take down giant financial firms in the same way it takes down banks. Banks would be taxed to reimburse the federal government for the cost of resolving these firms after a failure occurs.

True: To Big to Fail, Government takeovers and taxpayer bailouts will continue. This proposed regulation “institutionalizes” the Government’s ability to “take over” or “seize” private companies and use “taxpayer money” to resolve the company’s financial difficulties. Congress, unlike the citizens they represent, believe “TRAP’ was a success and that “We the People” would like to see “TARP” perpetuated.    

THE FATAL FLAW IN THE “NEW” FINANCIAL REFORM LAW

The fatal flaw involves the fact that he same Congress who proposed this law will be the one to enforce it. The Congress and the Executive Branch have proven themselves unwilling to enforce the laws of this land.

Fannie & Freddie, the firms who were primarily responsible for the “Financial Meltdown” are not even mentioned in this legislation. The “root cause” of the “meltdown”.

Remember the regulators warned Congress about the impending Fannie & Freddie Meltdown. Congress not only ignored the warnings, but accused the Regulators of “racism”. A “new tune, with the same old lyrics”.

One of the last motions Friday was to name the bill after the two chairmen, Sen. Chris Dodd(D –Conn)  and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had shepherded the legislation through the House and Senate over the past year. At 5:07 a.m., they agreed unanimously that it would be known as the Dodd-Frank bill, and the sound of applause echoed down the empty hallways. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

TRUE: How fitting – naming this sham reform proposed by the Democrats after two of the Democrats most responsible for the original meltdown …

Contact your Congress Person and tell them to VOTE NO!  http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Lastly, the legislation does not impact CDS (Credit Default Swaps) issued to foreign nations or those who hold their debt. This legislation will do nothing to monitor or prevent AIG (a government owned entity) from trading in or issuing CDS on say, the National Debt of Greece.

SEE: https://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/financial-crisis-inquiry-commission-studies-derivatives-is-government-owned-aig-selling-cds/

UPDATE: SEC Says New Financial Regulation Law Exempts it From Public Disclosure

The Financial Reform Law: “Never have the corrupt done so little for so many while shielding the guilty from “true change”.

The Financial Reform Law: Never have the corrupt done so little for so many while shielding the guilty from “true change”.

False claims and exaggerations about the “proposed changes” to a small segment of America’s financial markets.

McAuley’s World Comments Bolded Blue

But with a few exceptions, the measure avoids dictating to Wall Street what it can and cannot do. The bill does not break up big banks or ban the trading of derivatives. Nor does it significantly streamline the confusing array of financial regulators in Washington.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

True

A flurry of deal making allowed several industries to escape the new system. At the last minute, auto dealers were granted exemptions from new consumer rules, despite their major role in lending. Most mutual fund and insurance companies avoided a ban on some risky trading. Community banks, which make up the vast majority of their industry, got a carve-out months ago.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

True

“This legislation is a failure on both counts,” Sen. Judd Greg  (R-N.H.) said in a statement. “It will not encourage the much-needed stability and confidence in our financial markets. It will not significantly reduce systemic risk in our financial sector.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

True

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) agreed to scale back a controversial provision that would have forced the nation’s biggest banks to spin off their lucrative derivatives-dealing businesses. The proposal had been a particularly thorny issue for Democrats, causing internal divisions that threatened to derail the entire process.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

True. The Democrats prevented the needed reform in the derivatives business, the business that brought down AIG and Lehman Brothers, derivatives based on the “toxic mortgages” produced by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.

Media claims that the “reform” contains the following “significant provisions”:

  • Give the government the power to wind down and seize failing firms

This “provision” extends the Government’s “right” to take over failing businesses using U.S. taxpayer money, instead of letting the companies fail as they should.

  • Create a consumer protection agency under the authority of the Federal Reserve

Oh, please. More on this “eye candy” in just a bit.  

  • Require banks to spin off their riskiest derivatives activities

Window dressing, pure window dressing. The banks can still “own” the “spin offs” and direct their activities. The banks will fund the “spin offs” and if the “spin off” fails financially and cannot repay the parent company, the Federal Government will be standing by with another “bailout” in hand.

  • Curb the ability of firms to trade their funds for their own profit

This writer believes the “curbs” will not be effective in doing what is claimed.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2010/06/whats-the-real-impact-of-the-financial-reform-bill.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pbs%2Fnewshour-headlines+(newshour-headlines)

It (the proposed regulation) also does not re-impose laws similar to the Glass-Steagall Act that passed after the Great Depression (and partially repealed in 1999) that separated the activities of commercial and investment banking.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2010/06/whats-the-real-impact-of-the-financial-reform-bill.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pbs%2Fnewshour-headlines+(newshour-headlines)

True: The regulation does not reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which for months was the cry of the Democrats – “This problem started when Glass Steagal was repealed” …. Well, now that they had the chance, why didn’t the Democrats reinstate Glass Steagal?  

Two major players were left out of the bill and the negotiations the whole time: Mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have already received more than $145 billion in assistance from the taxpayers. Many Republicans — and a few Democrats — were angry that Democrats did not include Fannie and Freddie in the reforms. Many on Capitol Hill remain skeptical that will happen.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2010/06/whats-the-real-impact-of-the-financial-reform-bill.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pbs%2Fnewshour-headlines+(newshour-headlines)

True: Oh so true! The entire financial collapse rests at the feet of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, yet the single piece of legislation produced so far doesn’t even mention Freddie or Fannie. Meanwhile, this same Congress has actually increased Fannie & Freddie’s power. In December, President Obama, by Executive Order, removed the $200 million dollar cap on funds available to Freddie and Fannie and provided these “Agencies” unlimited funding through the Federal Reserve.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/economy/sectors-mainmenu-46/2656-frannie-mae-and-freddie-mac-now-have-a-blank-check  

So, if you thought that the “Great American Financial Reform Act of 2010”, the reform that will protect us from ever having the same type of financial collapse occur again, might just take some type of action against the Agencies that caused the original collapse, well, you would be “dead wrong”. Not one word about Fannie or Freddie, in fact Fannie and Freddie are more independent, less regulated and have greater access to American taxpayer money than at any time before in the history of the Country. Congress refused to implement even the most modest of changes to Fannie & Freddie – to make Fannie & Freddie subject to the Sarbanes Oxley Act or require Freddie and Fannie to file periodic reports with the SEC.

The conference committee votes were 20-11 among House negotiators and 7-5 among Senate negotiators, strictly along party lines. The room erupted into claps and hugs when it was all done, with staffers shaking hands and saying, “big bill.”

TRUE: Mocking Joe Biden’s infamous “Big ******* Deal” comment after the passage of Obama Care against the wishes of the American People.

http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/25/news/economy/Wall_Street_Reform/index.htm

True. A vote right down party lines. This baby has only one parent, this bastard belongs to the Democrats, lock stock and barrel. (The final vote is pending in the Senate and the 3 RINOs in the Senate could well vote in support of their fellow Democrats)

What’s in the Wall Street reform bill – The Media’s Slant

The final compromise that lawmakers struck will establish a consumer financial protection regulatory bureau inside the Federal Reserve, that will write new rules to protect consumers from unfair or abusive mortgages and credit cards.unfair or abusive mortgages and credit cards.

False: The claim is false because the major premise is false. A large and costly consumer agency will be created at taxpayer expense, however, “the abusive mortgages, credit cards and ATM fees which it will address, will only result in “temporary” changes to how “business is done”. In a matter of months consumers will learn that we are “back to business” as usual. Example: Credit card rates and ATM fees  are not being “rolled back” on a permanent basis. Rate increases and ATM fees will simply be delayed. This writer is willing to predict that Senator Chris Dodd will be back in January 2011, only when he returns he will be lobbying for credit card, ATM and mortgage fee increases on behalf of his “big bank buddies”.

Secondly, who will oversee the Consumer Protection Agency?  The Federal Reserve? The Federal Reserve? Wasn’t the Federal Reserve the entity responsible for overseeing the banks and financial firms that “failed” in the first place?

The final deal will also create a 10-member council of regulators, headed by the Treasury Secretary.

Regulators will be tasked with ensuring banks beef up their capital cushions,

The bill would also establish new procedures for shutting down giant financial firms that are collapsing.

WAIT ONE MINUTE: The proposed regulation does not limit the Government’s power to “take over” or “bailout” but it does delegate the authority to do so. This should remind everyone of the “TARP PROGRAM”. We the people were told we had an emergency, an emergency that required the purchase of a trillion dollars of “Troubled Assets” by the “Troubled Asset Relief Program” or “TARP”. Some 18 months later we now know that not one penny of the fund actually went to buy a single “Troubled” or “toxic asset”. Congress changed the rules after the fact. The same Congress is back and the same Congress People are at it again.

The bill aims to shine a brighter light on some of the different kinds of complex financial products, called derivatives, that are blamed for the problems that forced a bailout of American International Group (AIG, Fortune 500) and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. It would force most derivatives on to clearinghouses and exchanges, to help pinpoint the value of the trades.

FALSE: At best the press claims the regulation “would force most derivatives” when it fact no one knows what percent of the “trades” will be routed into an exchange nor does the proposed “regulation” define how the “trades” will be valued.    

Lawmakers agreed to push many derivatives onto clearinghouses and exchanges that can better pinpoint the value of the securities and create firewall’s between buyers and sellers.

FALSE: The most “risky” of those “agreements” were CDS or Credit Default Swaps, which are transactions that take place directly between “involved parties, parties that don’t require a “firewall”.

They also agreed to allow leeway for financial firms to avoid exchanges and avoid posting collateral on such contracts for so-called commercial end-users,

TRUE: A “back door” to avoid any of the “proposed” regulation in this area.

Additionally, lawmakers embraced a provision that prevents big banks from making risky bets on “nontraditional” derivatives and having access to emergency taxpayer-backed loans. Banks would have to spin off their swaps desk into affiliates, if they want to make such bets.

TRUE: That the banks can and will continue to make such deals through their “affiliates”.

FALSE: That banks won’t have access to “tax payer cash”?  The Banks will be subject to “To Big to Fail” and “take-over” by the Feds as stated above. Those activites are accomplished using “taxpayer cash”.  

Volcker: Just before midnight, lawmakers agreed on a new version of the so-called Volcker Rule, which was first proposed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The measure prevents banks from owning hedge funds and trading for their own accounts.

Lawmakers agreed to gives regulators more specifics and less leeway when it comes to preventing banks from trading for themselves or owning hedge funds. But they also watered it down in several ways: It doesn’t impact insurers. And it allows some proprietary trading in areas, such as government debt, for hedging purposes and small business investments.

As for the ban on banks owning hedge funds, the provision allows Wall Street banks that take commercial deposits to sink as much as 3% of capital in hedge funds or private equity.

FALSE: The “Volker Rule” as originally proposed was gutted. The only resemblance between the originally suggested Volker Rule and that which remains is the name.

http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/25/news/economy/Wall_Street_Reform/index.htm

Consumer protection

Creating a consumer agency: Establishes an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau housed inside the Federal Reserve. Fees paid by banks fund the agency, which would set rules to curb unfair practices in consumer loans and credit cards. It would not have power over auto dealers.

False: The areas being “touted” as a “great benefit” to consumers are shams. Credit Card rates, mortgage terms and limitations on ATM fees are all “temporary” in nature. These items are the “eye candy” being offered to secure popular support for this totally inadequate legislation.   

Credit scores: All consumers have been able to get one free credit report a year from the credit rating agencies. But the bill would also allow a consumer to get an actual credit score along with a report.

WHO CARES: A free credit report and a free credit score. Everyone in the Country has access to free credit reports and a free credit score …. Just check your email.

Interchange fees: Lawmakers want the Fed to crack down on debit card swipe fees, which retailers pay to banks to cover the operational cost of transferring money. The Fed could cap the fees and make them more reasonable and proportional.

False: Cap or temporarily limit? To establish a temporary limit. Again, this writer bets the requests for an increase in fees has already been prepared and Congress has already told their friends in the banking industry when to submit the requests. I’m sure the requests won’t be submitted until after the first week in November 2010.

Banning ‘liar loans’: Lenders would have to document a borrower’s income before originating a mortgage and verify a borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

FALSE – ABSOLUTELY FALSE: This lie, more than any of the other lies, upsets me the most. Liar loans have not been banned. The only limitation on Liar Loans is this; Liar Loans cannot be “bundled” and sold as securities. The banks are free to make and keep as many Liar Loans as they like. As the banks will be subject to “take over” and “bailout” if they are “to big to fail” there will be no “market pressure” to limit these loans. The Congress could eliminate “Liar Loans” tomorrow by instructing the Federal Reserve, yes the Federal Reserve charged with overseeing this “monster”, to rescind the “mortgage underwriting guidelines” that created “Liar Loans” in the first place, but Congress failed to do so. If Congress wished to end “Liar Loans” why didn’t they do so?

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The Financial Meltdown – who, when, where and why:

Professor Stan Liebowitz: The Real Scandal – http://www.nypost.com/seven/02052008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_real_scandal_243911.htm?page=0

Professor Thomas J DiLorenzo: The CRA Scam and its Defenders: http://www.mises.org/story/2963

John R Lott, Jr : Analysis – Reckless Mortgages Brought Financial Market To Its Knees http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,424945,00.htm

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Mortgage help for unemployed: Unemployed homeowners with good credit would be eligible for low-interest loans to help them avoid foreclosures. The bill would spend $1 billion on such relief, using funds that had been directed for Troubled Asset Relief Fund bailing out the financial system.

FASLE: This is not a new program but an adaptation of Obama’s failed “mortgage rescue programs” that are already in place.

Fixed-equity annuities: Prohibits tougher federal rules on life insurance products, in which customers pay a lump sum upfront in exchange for monthly income over time, pegged to an index. The Securities and Exchange Commission had been gearing up to step in and start requiring more disclosure for these products, often sold to seniors, that are currently regulated by state insurance commissioners. Lawmakers decided to stop the SEC from tougher federal regulation.

TRUE: The Democrats moved to stop SEC regulation – the Democrats moved to de-regulate.  

Too big to fail

New oversight power: Creates a new 10-member oversight council consisting of financial regulators to look out for major problems at financial firms and throughout the financial system. The Treasury Secretary gains a key role in enforcing tougher regulations on larger firms and watching for systemic risk. The council also has veto power over new rules proposed by new consumer regulator.

Unwinding powers: Gives the FDIC new powers to take down giant financial firms in the same way it takes down banks. Banks would be taxed to reimburse the federal government for the cost of resolving these firms after a failure occurs.

True: To Big to Fail, Government takeovers and taxpayer bailouts will continue. This proposed regulation “institutionalizes” the Government’s ability to “take over” or “seize” private companies and use “taxpayer money” to resolve the company’s financial difficulties. Congress, unlike the citizens they represent, believe “TRAP’ was a success and that “We the People” would like to see “TARP” perpetuated.    

THE FATAL FLAW IN THE “NEW” FINANCIAL REFORM LAW

The fatal flaw involves the fact that he same Congress who proposed this law will be the one to enforce it. The Congress and the Executive Branch have proven themselves unwilling to enforce the laws of this land.

Fannie & Freddie, the firms who were primarily responsible for the “Financial Meltdown” are not even mentioned in this legislation. The “root cause” of the “meltdown”.

Remember the regulators warned Congress about the impending Fannie & Freddie Meltdown. Congress not only ignored the warnings, but accused the Regulators of “racism”. A “new tune, with the same old lyrics”.

One of the last motions Friday was to name the bill after the two chairmen, Sen. Chris Dodd(D –Conn)  and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had shepherded the legislation through the House and Senate over the past year. At 5:07 a.m., they agreed unanimously that it would be known as the Dodd-Frank bill, and the sound of applause echoed down the empty hallways. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062500675.html

TRUE: How fitting – naming this sham reform proposed by the Democrats after two of the Democrats most responsible for the original meltdown …

Contact your Congress Person and tell them to VOTE NO!  http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Lastly, the legislation does not impact CDS (Credit Default Swaps) issued to foreign nations or those who hold their debt. This legislation will do nothing to monitor or prevent AIG (a government owned entity) from trading in or issuing CDS on say, the National Debt of Greece.

Update: SEC Says New Financial Regulation Law Exempts it From Public Disclosure 

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