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MEMO: Scott Brown’s Desperate Attempt To Rewrite History On Wall Street Reform

To: Interested Parties
From: American Bridge 21st Century
RE: Scott Brown’s desperate attempt to rewrite history on Wall Street Reform
Date: September 12, 2011

During a recent interview with New England Cable News, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) attempted to rewrite the history of how 2010’s historic Wall Street Reform bill became law. Despite making nationwide news for delaying, obstructing and nearly torpedoing the entire process, Brown laughingly claimed, “I worked on it, I voted on it, I pushed it through.”

“Pushed it through”? Not so fast, Senator.

For weeks, Brown made headlines for threatening to derail Democrats’ efforts to rein in Wall Street in order to protect the big wigs that bankrolled his campaign.

Here are the facts:

Brown Claimed He Pushed Through Wall Street Reform

Brown Said “I Pushed” Wall Street Reform Bill Through. Brown said, “I worked very hard to make sure the banks didn’t act like casinos with our money. So the bill that she was apparently working on, I mean was able to work through as a result of her position – I worked on it, I voted on it, I pushed it through. The consumer agency that General Petreaus, Holly Petraeus is working on, when it comes to protecting military families, that’s my amendment. So who doesn’t want to protect the middle class? But there’s a difference however between talking and actually doing it. [NECN.com, 9/2/11]

Brown: I Supported the President on Dodd-Frank. Brown said, “I’ve supported the President on a whole host of things. On his proposal to keep out taxes stable, and have unemployment benefits included. I’ve supported him on the Dodd-Frank bill. I can think of a whole host of things, so if I can find common ground I can do it.” [MyFox25, 9/2/11]

But Brown Weakened Wall Street Reform Every Step of the Way

Brown Forced Bank-Friendly Changes to Wall Street Reform

Brown Sought Provisions, Pushed By Banking Industry Lobbyists, to “Undercut a Central Pillar” of Wall Street Reform. While Wall Street Reform was in conference committee, Brown, other lawmakers, and banking industry lobbyists pushed for “provisions to undercut a central pillar of the legislation, known as the Volcker Rule, which would forbid banks from using their own money to make risky wagers on the market and would force them to sell off hedge funds and private equity units.” The changes would “benefit Boston-based money management giants like Fidelity Investments and State Street Corp. The biggest Wall Street firms would be helped as well.” [Boston Globe, 6/21/10]

Brown Secured A “Win For the Banks.” Senator Dodd released changes to the Volcker Rule “that appeared to meet the demands of Brown…It was a win for the banks, which would be permitted to invest up to 3 percent of their equity and hold up to 3 percent of a fund’s value. Some Democrats had argued against the exception, saying it would create a loophole that Wall Street was bound to exploit.” [Politico, 6/24/10]

Brown Said Elimination of Bank Tax Key to His Support of Wall Street Reform Bill. Brown “signed onto the legislation only after winning several changes that benefited Boston-based State Street Corp. and Springfield-based MassMutual. He also used his leverage as a key swing vote to force top House and Senate lawmakers, including House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank, to change how the bill is financed. ‘I appreciate the efforts to improve the bill, especially the removal of the $19 billion bank tax,’ Brown said yesterday in his statement. ‘As a result, it is a better bill than it was when this whole process started.’ [Boston Globe, 7/13/10]

Brown Repeatedly Supported Weakening Wall Street Reform

Brown “Appeared to Oppose” Creation of Consumer Protection Agency. According to the Boston Globe, Brown “appeared to oppose the creation of a consumer protection agency within the Federal Reserve. ‘It’s more government, it’s more government regulation at a time when businesses are trying just to pay their bills,’ he said. ‘Is that good? …If it’s an area we need to fix, then I’m certainly open to it. But I haven’t heard that that’s the biggest thing that’s problematic with it.’” [Boston Globe, 4/15/10]

Brown Voted For Republican Amendment to Create New Consumer Protection Division Based in the FDIC. Brown voted in favor of a Shelby Amendment to the original Senate Wall Street reform bill. Tulsa World reported, “The Senate rejected an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act (S. 3217) that would have established a Consumer Financial Protection division within the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Proponents of the amendment said a “strong, independent, consumer watchdog” was necessary and that there was no accountability in the current system. Opponents of the amendment said the creation of an oversight division within the FDIC would be a bureaucracy with no bite as it would have no authority to enforce penalties. The vote Thursday was 38 yeas to 61 nays.” [Vote #133, 5/6/10; Tulsa World, 5/9/10]

Brown Voted For Amendment to Eliminate Key Provisions That Would Require Stricter Regulation of the Derivatives Market. Brown voted in favor of a Chambliss Amendment to the original Senate Wall Street reform bill. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, “The Senate on Wednesday rejected a Republican attempt to strip pending banking-overhaul legislation of measures that would require stricter regulation of the derivatives market. The proposed regulations, written by Sen. Lincoln Blanche would “bring real reform to our nation’s financial markets,” the Democrat from Arkansas said after the late-afternoon vote. In a 59-39 vote, the Senate defeated an amendment offered by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, which would have removed key provisions of Lincoln’s plan. Two Republicans, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Olympia Snow of Maine crossed party lines to support Lincoln’s proposal.” [Vote #144,5/12/10; Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 5/13/10]

Brown Voted Against Amendment to Impose Leverage and Liability Limits on Bank Holding Companies. Brown voted against a Brown (OH) Amendment to the original Senate Wall Street reform bill. Tulsa World reported, “The Senate rejected an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D- Ohio, to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act (S. 3217) that would have imposed leverage and liability limits on bank holding companies and financial companies. Proponents of the amendment said it would scale back the six largest banks, requiring them to spin off into smaller more manageable banks and to maintain sufficient capital to cover their debts. Opponents said the amendment didn’t focus on the level of interconnectedness and the risks institutions are taking, rather than the actual size of the firms. The vote Thursday was 33 yeas to 61 nays.” [Vote #136, 5/6/10; Tulsa World, 5/9/10]

Brown Voted to Kill Democratic Amendment to Ban Naked Credit Default Swaps. Brown voted to table a Dorgan Amendment to the original Senate Wall Street reform bill. Tulsa World reported, “The Senate tabled an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act (S. 3217) that would have banned naked credit default swaps. Proponents of the amendment said the practice of big financial firms trading uninsured credit defaults and making trillions of dollars from fees was akin to gambling and had to stop because they were selling insurance policies against bonds that they never actually owned. Opponents of the amendment said it didn’t provide any protections for commercial end users. The vote no to table the amendment Tuesday was 57 yeas to 38 nays.” [Vote #156, 5/18/10; Tulsa World, 5/23/10]

Brown Voted Against Wall Street Reform THREE TIMES Before Finally Voting For It

Brown Voted to Kill Original Senate Wall Street Reform Bill. Brown voted against invoking cloture on the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. States News Services reported, “The Senate on Monday fell short of the 60 votes needed to clear a motion for cloture on S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act, preventing the Senate from moving forward on debate and setting the stage for continued negotiations on key provisions. The final vote on cloture was 57-41. Two Democrats joined 39 Republicans in casting votes against proceeding.” [Vote #124, 4/26/10; States News Services, 4/27/10]

Brown: “I Can’t Support it…It’s Going to Be an Extra Layer of Regulation.” In explaining his decision to vote against the Wall Street reform bill, Brownsaid. “I can’t support it…It’s going to be an extra layer of regulation, and it’s clearly being used by the [Obama] administration to drive a wedge and use it for political fodder—and I think that’s wrong” [Boston Globe, 4/15/10]

Brown Again Voted to Kill Original Senate Wall Street Reform Bill. Brown voted against invoking cloture on the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. States News Services reported, “The Senate on Monday fell short of the 60 votes needed to clear a motion for cloture on S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act, preventing the Senate from moving forward on debate and setting the stage for continued negotiations on key provisions. The final vote on cloture was 57-41. Two Democrats joined 39 Republicans in casting votes against proceeding.” [Vote #126, 4/27/10; States News Services, 4/27/10]

Brown Voted for Third Time to Kill Original Senate Wall Street Reform Bill. Brown Voted against invoking cloture on the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. States News Services reported, “The third vote this week on cloture for S. 3217, the Senate’s Wall Street reform measure, failed again to garner the 60 votes required to clear the bill for consideration, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-Nev., is planning to try again. Today’s vote wound up at 56-42.” [Vote #127, 4/28/10; States News Services, 4/28/10]

Brown Voted For Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009. Brown voted in favor of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, the original Senate Wall Street reform bill. Tulsa World reported, “The Senate passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173), also known as the Restoring American Financial Stability Act, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., to promote financial stability in the U.S. through increased accountability and transparency. The legislation would protect American taxpayers and consumers from bailouts and abusive financial practices and would disallow the creation of “too big to fail” mega-companies. Proponents said the legislation would limit “the most dangerous provision” of the Federal Reserve Act that has allowed the Fed to lend, at its discretion, unlimited amounts of money to companies claiming to be in distress. The vote Thursday was 59 yeas to 39 nays.” [Vote #162, 5/20/10; Tulsa World, 5/23/10]

Financial Industry Invested Hundreds of Thousands In Brown’s Campaigns

Brown Took Nearly $2.5 Million Dollars From the Financial Sector. As of July 2011, Brown had received $2,498,150 from the financial sector since he began running for federal office in 2009. [Open Secrets, 6/13/11]

Brown Took Hundreds of Thousands from Financial Companies for Special Election. In the six days just before the special election took place, Browncollected nearly $450,000 from donors who work at financial companies. “Brown received about $442,000 from Jan. 11 through Jan. 16, while Coakley got $92,000 from financial industry workers during this period.” Nearly 80 percent of the money came from outside Massachusetts, including financial giants like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. [Boston Globe, 2/1/10]

Brown Received Hundreds of Thousands from “Investment Banks Blamed for the Economic Meltdown.” As of April 2010, Brown had received $354,000 from Wall Street firms, which were Brown’s second-biggest donors. This included $5,500 from Goldman Sachs. [Boston Herald, 4/24/10]