A recent report from the Center for Public Integrity shows that the 25 largest originators of subprime mortgages also spent more than $370 million over the last ten years lobbying the legislators in Washington to ease up on regulation that would have restrained the risky investment behavior that has resulted in the meltdown. And now, at least 21 of the 25 ventures are backed or owned by banks now receiving bailout money.
Bill Moyers talks with Senator Dick Durbin who describes the influence of lobbyists on Washington in this video. Earlier this year, Durbin authored a bill in which it would become easier for people facing foreclosure to renegotiate their loans. After 12 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote against it earlier this month, the amendment to the bill failed. Durbin, himself a beneficiary of those mighty lobbying dollars, has since come out swinging.
On a local radio station, Durbin said:
The banks -- hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.Durbin also recently introduced a bi-partisan bill with Senator Arlen Specter to create a voluntary public financing system for members of both chambers of Congress. As he tells Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL: "I think that is a good move for our democracy, and it's one which we ought to acknowledge is at the heart of many of the issues we face."
Modeled after successful fair election bills of several states including Connecticut, Maine, Arizona, and North Carolina, the Fair Elections Now Act seeks to diminish corporate influence removing the need to go "dialing for dollars".
Senators Durbin and Spector introduce Fair Elections Now Act on March 3, 2009
in this video
in this video
transcript of Moyers-Durbin show