Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, is slamming the Republican incumbent, Sen. Scott Brown, over a report that he worked behind the scenes to weaken key features of the 2010 financial reform law he helped to pass.
Brown often notes that his was the decisive vote in passing the Dodd-Frank Act, which was meant to curb Wall Street excesses.
But a report out Monday by the Boston Globe said that even as Brown voted for the legislation, he worked to water it down -- and that he has continued efforts to weaken the law while federal regulators are still writing the rules to enforce it.
"Scott Brown is trying to make it easier for the big banks to keep hammering consumers when we ought to be figuring out how to take away the hammer and protect consumers," said Warren in a statement put out by her campaign. The statement points out that she helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"Scott Brown is part of the guerrilla war that's undermining financial reform and weakening critical protections for consumers. We ought to be holding these big banks accountable, not letting them off the hook," Warren said.
"The facts and the record are clear," she added. "He is on the side of Wall Street and the big banks, not the middle class families of Massachusetts.”
According to the Globe report, one focus of Brown's efforts has been the Volcker Rule, which is meant to restrict the money put into hedge funds and other risky ventures by banks whose funds are protected by taxpayers.
Brown's campaign fired back that Warren was twisting his role in getting the landmark legislation passed.
"Given her proven record of distorting the facts and making things up to serve her purposes, it's not surprising that Elizabeth Warren is now misrepresenting Scott Brown's key role as the tie-breaking vote in passing Wall Street reform, a bill she called the 'strongest set of reforms in three generations,'" said Brown spokesman Colin Reed in a statement, apparently referring to the recent furor over Warren's claims to Native American heritage and her hiring a lobbyist for her campaign while she rails against lobbyists.
Reed cast Brown's backdoor lobbying as a smart bid to protect local businesses.
"As he has always done, Sen. Brown worked on a bipartisan basis to protect jobs at home, including well-known Massachusetts companies like Mass Mutual and State Street that had nothing to do with the financial crisis," Reed said.