MIT Professor and Leading Financial Reform Advocate Slams Wall Street Banks for Perpetrating ‘Fraud’
April 23, 2010
MIT Professor and Leading Financial Reform Advocate Simon Johnson Slams Wall Street Banks for Perpetrating ‘Fraud’
At Speech Today at Harvard Kennedy School, Johnson Called Out Underhanded Tactics of Wall Street Front Group ‘Stop Too Big To Fail’ That Deceptively Portrayed Him as an Ally in Their Campaign to Kill Financial Reform:
“Financial sector practices of this nature threaten to undermine our democracy”
Washington DC – Leading Wall Street reform advocate Simon Johnson minced no words during his public lecture “Wall Street and Washington” at Harvard Kennedy School tonight, assailing what he called ‘fraud’ on Wall Street that caused the collapse of the financial system – fraud that Congress must rein in now to prevent another economic crisis. Before delivering his speech, Johnson showed the audience a new video from Americans United for Change called ‘Fraud.’ See script below and watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgE8HtK8bhQ
Johnson, a Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT's Sloan School of Management and co-author of ‘13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown,” recounted his recent personal experience with the deceptive practices of agents of the big Wall Street banks, when astroturf group ‘Stop Too Big To Fail’ deceptively promoted him on their website as an ally in their misinformation campaign to kill financial regulatory reform. Johnson’s experience was reported extensively on TalkingPointsMemo.com and on The Rachel Maddow Show, which both noted that ‘Stop Too Big To Fail’ has links to DCI Group, a “Washington public affairs firm that specializes in astroturf efforts and has worked for everyone from the Burmese junta to the tobacco industry.”
‘Stop Too Big To Fail’ has since taken to the air with $1.6 million in misleading attack ads targeting Senators in Nevada, Missouri, and Virginia that uses the same false, widely discredited bank “bailout fund" rhetoric that Congressional Republicans have been using for weeks in their efforts to kill reform – rhetoric cribbed directly from a ‘how to kill reform’ memo from Wall Street financed pollster Frank Luntz.
Professor Simon Johnson: “As Senator Ted Kaufman has been insisting for some time: There is fraud at the heart of Wall Street. We have learned in the past few days that fraud was not just a key component of the “boom” over the past decade and the “bailout” of 2008-09, but it extends so far as attempted identity theft – undermining attempts to have a genuine debate regarding the future of financial regulation. If the appalling and disgusting practices evident in some parts of the financial sector are not currently illegal, this just strengthens the case for strengthening our laws and rules. Financial sector practices of this nature threaten to undermine our democracy.”
Tom McMahon, Acting Executive Director, Americans United for Change: “The deceit that Professor Johnson fell victim to is quite disturbing and shows that the big Wall Street banks are literally willing to say or do anything to kill reform. Is it any surprise that the group that perpetrated this fraud has ties to a corporate PR firm that represented the likes of big tobacco and the dictatorship in Burma? Is it any surprise that their rhetoric mimics the widely discredited talking points straight from the ‘kill reform’ playbook of Wall Street financed pollster Frank Luntz? These kinds of smear tactics are emblematic of the kind of recklessness and greed on Wall Street that led to the financial collapse and left 8 million people without jobs. Does Congress need any more reasons to support strong, comprehensive financial reform now?
Last week Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs was accused of defrauding investors – a scheme so big it resulted in the biggest Securities and Exchange Commission action in memory.
Now Wall Street is at it again – this time defrauding the American public.
Now a Rachel Maddow expose tells us Wall Street has even hired some of the same PR people who defended Big Tobacco and the Burmese Military Dictatorship.
Now this group is posing as a financial reform group and spending millions on attack ads to convince the public that the bill to hold the Wall Street Banks accountable is really a bailout for the big banks.
Tell Wall Street: Stop Shorting America.
No more fraud on the Street.
No more fraud on the airwaves.
No more fraud in Congress
Paid for by Americans United for Change.