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The Journal Gazette

Friday, May 26, 2017 1:00 am

Moneyed interests

Financial reforms must keep consumers foremost

Republican House leaders on Wednesday dropped language from a massive financial deregulation bill, preserving a cap on debit card fees. But the federal Financial CHOICE Act continues to favor Wall Street interests determined to undo important consumer protections. Voters must speak loudly to counter the influence that bankers, payday lenders, debt collectors and others enjoy.

Campaign finance reports show the ties between Indiana lawmakers and the financial industry. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics document contributions, minus those from the insurance industry, during the last session of Congress:

• Joe Donnelly, Senate, $863,962

• Todd Young, Senate, $1,448,023

• Pete Visclosky, 1st District, $87,875

• Jackie Walorski, 2nd District,$211, 965

• Jim Banks, 3rd District, $89,025

• Todd Rokita, 4th District, $158,089

• Susan Brooks, 5th District, $284,581

• Luke Messer, 6th District, $761,645

• Andre Carson, 7th District, $158,039

• Larry Bucshon, 8th District, $59,300

• Trey Hollingsworth, 9th District, $43,050

Contributors from the finance sector are eager to see the bill introduced by the chairman of the House Financial Service approved so that it might roll back provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act and weaken the six-year-old Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of more than 200 groups, including AARP, the National Urban League and Common Cause, warns the federal legislation will obliterate regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. 

“This nearly 600-page bill is a radical piece of legislation. Not only does it eliminate numerous major elements of the Dodd-Frank protections passed in the wake of the disastrous financial crisis of 2008, it would also weaken regulatory powers that long pre-date Dodd-Frank,” warns the coalition. “The Financial CHOICE Act would be an unprecedented blow to effective oversight of the nation's financial sector and to the protection of ordinary consumers, investors, and members of the public who depend on the fairness, transparency, and stability of the financial system.”

It was a lack of financial protections that caused millions of Americans to lose jobs and homes and caused wages and investments for middle-class households to shrivel. Dodd-Frank might well have created some burdensome regulations in need of attention, but members of Congress should be reminded the financial system must serve not only the deep-pocketed industry, but all Americans.