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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Two faces of Scotto

Money talks -- and Scott Brown is still listening the the financial services industry,

The Bay State's junior senator remains a favorite of Wall Street, which tops the list of his campaign contributors. And Brown continues to return the affection,  working to further weaken the law he stripped down before finally famously telling us he voted for it.

The Globe reports that Brown is working to further weaken the Volcker Rule, something he was instrumental in weakening before casting what his commercials say was his "tie-breaking vote for Wall Street reform." That involved negotiating language allowing banks to invest up to 3 percent of depositor money in riskier investments such as hedge funds and private equity funds, and to own up to 3 percent of an individual fund.

But e-mails suggest Brown wasn't done:
... as regulators began the less publicly scrutinized task of writing rules amid heavy pressure from the banking sector, Brown urged the regulators to interpret the 3 percent rule broadly and to offer banks some leeway to invest in hedge funds and private equity funds.
A banking industry lobbyist told the Globe that Brown's work give banks "maximum relief around the margins." As Lawrence D. Kaplan adds:
“They’re trying to make sure it’s being interpreted in the best light for them, which is appropriate,’’ he said. “They’re not going to say, ‘Please, sir, can I have some more?’ They want to have the best scenario.’’
MIT Professor Simon Johnson was far more direct:
“This is a treatise on how to gut the thing.’’
Not surprisingly Brown was not available to personally comment to anything unrelated to the heritage of Democrat Elizabeth Warren. A spokeswoman offered the usual platitudes Brown has offered since those votes, declaring his work for home state businesses like Mass Mutual and State Street.

Brown's interests in the law focus on areas far from the daily concerns of the men and women he's seen palling around with in coffee shop commercials, particularly the carried interest rule that allows Mitt Romney and others to pay far less in taxes on capital gains than most Americans pay on earned income.

Brown also rallies for banks being allowed to risk more taxpayer-insured depositor funds and pool those resources with non-banking customer cash to heighten the rewards to banks -- and risk to depositors.

It seems those commercials where Brown is offered a coffee refill should really be shot at a white linened table where the coffee comes from a silver carafe.

And bought and paid for by Wall Street.

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