Banks Are Using Your Money to Lobby for More Money

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Via the Sunlight Foundation blog, an excellent suggestion from Robert Reich:

…what’s happened to the Wall Street campaign contributions and to [Wall Street’s] lobbyists? They’re still going strong. We now know that many of the financial giants that have been bailed out by taxpayers continue to finance a platoon of Washington lobbyists, who are at this moment trying to influence TARP II and the next attempt to regulate Wall Street….

Would it not be a reasonable condition for receiving additional bailout funds — from TARP II — that a firm cease its lobbying activities and campaign contributions (as well as any contributions it makes indirectly through its executives) at least until it fully compensates taxpayers what we have provided it?

Paul Blumenthal of Sunlight puts it this way: “Essentially, we have taxpayer money cycling from the our wallets, to the government, to a bank, and then to a lobbyist, who then works to get more money for the bank.” He suggests supporting S. 133, a bill from Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Olympia Snowe that addresses Reich’s suggestion.

My $0.02: I suspect if Wall Street firms couldn’t use TARP funds to lobby lawmakers, we would have seen effective limitations on executive pay added to the bailout a long, long time ago.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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