In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that Republicans were "stepping up their campaign to win donations from Wall Street. In discussions with Wall Street executives, Republicans are striving to make the case that they are banks' best hope of preventing President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats from cracking down on Wall Street."
Two months later, it seems the GOP is relying on the same strategy. In return for obstructing Democratic legislation to hold Wall Street CEOs accountable, Republican lawmakers are pressing bankers for financial help heading into the November elections.
FoxBusiness.com reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) had a "private meeting" with "25 Wall Street executives, many of them hedge fund managers." After listening to "numerous complaints the executives have with the bill," the GOP lawmakers reportedly assured the bankers that Republicans would be their ally in the fight. After discussing likely Republican electoral gains this November, "McConnell and Cornyn made it clear they need Wall Street's help."
A day after the story broke about McConnell's "private meeting" with Wall Street bigwigs, he stormed onto the Senate floor to spout false attacks on Democratic efforts to hold those bankers accountable. The timing was no coincidence.
Republicans are brazenly playing politics by putting the needs of big banks and credit card companies above struggling American families. Now is the time to hold Wall Street accountable for causing the worst recession in a generation.
True financial regulatory reform would restore fairness to America's banking system, get rid of confusing fine print, and hold Wall Street's bad actors accountable for getting us into this mess.
Chris Harris is Communications Director for Media Matters Action Network
Follow Chris Harris on Twitter: www.twitter.com/chris_p_harris