Charley James: In a little-noticed piece of legislation he is trying to move through his Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs a bill that would effectively strip independent regulatory agencies of their power to effectively regulate just about anything.
t must have seemed like a good idea at the time, when Senators Chris Dodd and Barney Frank drew up the landmark regulatory bill that bears their names. One of its lesser-known provisions required U.S. companies to list the inclusion of any “conflict minerals,” mined in or near the violence-plagued Democratic Republic of the Congo, [...]
Marian Wang: Even as anger over governmental corruption has exploded into protests across the Middle East, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been working to weaken the law that bans companies from bribing foreign officials.
Robert Reich: If Washington knew what was good for it and the nation, it would sever its financial connections with the Street. Better yet, it would enact legislation seeking to limit the impact of private and corporate money in politics. That goal is made more difficult to achieve by the grotesque recent Supreme Court decision (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) holding that corporations, including financial firms, have the right to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. But there are ways around this, such as more generous public funding for candidates that choose not to take private contributions. Hopefully as well, the president will nominate Supreme Court justices who understand the importance of public trust in democratic institutions, and the difference between companies and people.
Robert Reich: It’s now clear Lehman Brothers’ balance sheet was bogus before the bank collapsed in 2008, catapulting the Street and the world into the worst financial crisis since 1929. The Lehman bankruptcy examiner’s recent report details what just about everyone on the Street has known since the firm imploded – that Lehman defrauded its investors. Even Hank Paulson, in his recent memoir, referred to Lehman’s balance sheet as bogus.