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Zach Carter
Zach Carter is The Huffington Post's Senior Political Economy Reporter, working out of Washington D.C. His story, "Swiped: Banks, Merchants and Why Washington Doesn't Work for You," written with Ryan Grim, was included in the Columbia Journalism Review's compilation Best Business Writing 2012. He previously worked as AlterNet's Economics Editor, blogged about economic policy at Campaign For America's Future and served on the steering committee at Americans for Financial Reform. Before any of that, he worked as a banking reporter for SNL Financial News. Email him at zach dot carter at huffingtonpost dot com.

Entries by Zach Carter

Kochs Embedded In Major Rift On Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform

(8) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 2:44 PM

WASHINGTON -- A major rift is opening among criminal justice reform advocates over how to deal with conservative efforts that could write off white-collar crimes ranging from environmental pollution to food safety.

Most of the discussion surrounding criminal justice reform has dealt with...

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Obama Won't Tolerate Wall Street Gifts, His Treasury Secretary Declares

(3) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 3:40 PM

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Tuesday warned Congress against attempting to slip financial deregulation efforts into must-pass year-end spending bills, saying he'd advise the president to veto the measures if they did.

In an interview with The Huffington Post,...

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Meet The 88 Democrats Who Just Voted To Enable Racial Discrimination In Car Buying

(28) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 4:50 PM

So that happened. This week, the House of Representatives voted to help banks and car dealerships discriminate against customers of color. And it wasn't just Republicans -- 88 Democrats, including Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) -- voted in favor of...

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White House Comes Out Against Effort To Block White-Collar Crime Prosecutions

(6) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 8:36 AM

The White House is not happy about language on corporate crime that the House Judiciary Committee approved on Wednesday as part of a bipartisan criminal justice reform package. The legislation would eliminate a host of white-collar crimes involving gross negligence or reckless behavior by forcing prosecutors...

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Here's The Dodgy Payday Lender Behind That 'Grassroots' White House Petition

(3) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 6:15 PM

WASHINGTON -- Every good idea in American politics eventually becomes a vehicle for corporate lobbying.

When the Obama administration unveiled its "We The People" online petition platform in the fall of 2011, the goal was pretty straightforward: give people an opportunity to petition...

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Lawmakers Sneak Help For White-Collar Criminals Into Justice Reform Bill

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 1:29 PM

WASHINGTON -- The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday injected a controversial effort to curb prosecutions of white-collar crime into a bipartisan push for criminal justice reform.

The panel approved a slate of several bills that will likely be packaged together on the House...

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Why 65 Dems Are Backing A Bill To Strip Financial Protections For People Of Color

(2) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 11:22 AM

WASHINGTON -- Progressive Democrats are scrambling to prevent their colleagues from supporting a bill that would pave the way for racial discrimination at car dealerships. The legislation will receive a vote on the House floor this week, and would...

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Dozens Of Democrats Are About To Vote For Racial Discrimination At Car Dealerships

(4) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 6:20 PM

WASHINGTON -- Dozens of House Democrats are expected to vote this week in favor of legislation that would open the door to racial discrimination in auto lending. The bill would make it easier for car dealerships to overcharge people of color. 


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Clinton Campaign Defends Controversial 9/11 Remark By Pointing To 9/11

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 4:36 PM

Hillary Clinton incited a broad backlash during the most recent Democratic presidential debate by suggesting that her popularity among Wall Street donors was due to her work in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. On Monday, her campaign doubled...

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House Bill Would Make It Harder To Prosecute White-Collar Crime

(20) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 1:40 PM

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans on Monday unveiled legislation that would decriminalize a broad swath of corporate malfeasance, a move that injects white-collar crime issues into the thus-far bipartisan agenda on criminal justice reform. 

The public debate over criminal...

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Republicans Are Obsessed With Deregulating Wall Street

(28) Comments | Posted November 11, 2015 | 1:23 PM

On Tuesday night, one Republican presidential hopeful after another lined up to offer coded oaths of fealty to Wall Street donors, pledging to empower the nation's biggest banks to wreak havoc-for-profit on the American economy.

They were rhetorically deft, sending signals that Washington...

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Ben Carson Says Donald Trump's Tax Plan Is More Fair Than His Own

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 10:18 PM

Fox Business moderator Neil Cavuto asked Ben Carson on Tuesday whether God thinks his flat tax proposal is more fair than Donald Trump's plan to tax the wealthy at higher rates than the poor. After a meandering answer, Carson essentially said that Trump's plan was better.

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Everything You Need To Know About The Republican Candidates' Tax Plans

(1) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 3:24 PM

WASHINGTON -- The tax proposals from the Republican presidential hopefuls all have two things in common: They would balloon the deficit and shower the wealthy with lots of money.

The various candidates' plans all have different details. Some would eliminate all taxes on...

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How Hundreds Of Lawmakers Ended Up Voting To Give Banks $17 Billion

(4) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 4:22 PM

So, that happened. On Thursday, 354 members of the House of Representatives voted to give banks $17 billion, basically just to thank them for being banks.

All but two Republicans voted for the measure, including all but one member of the hyper-conservative Freedom Caucus, which frequently lambasts the grip of "crony capitalism" in Washington. Only 70 Democrats voted against the measure, mostly members of the Progressive Caucus.

Listen to HuffPost's analysis of the bank subsidy, the 2016 presidential race and more this week's "So, That Happened" podcast, embedded above. 

So how did so many lawmakers end up voting to just hand $17 billion to banks?

Congressional negotiators have been scrambling for months to find potential spending cuts that could offset new funding to fix roads and bridges. Republicans have refused to consider any tax increases to support the infrastructure spending, making any potential source of frivolous spending a target.

Enter the Progressive Caucus. Every year, the coalition of dozens of Democrats releases an annual budget proposal. With Republicans in control of the House, it's a largely symbolic measure that essentially lays out the priorities of liberal lawmakers. But the budget released last year included an item that most members of Congress had never heard of: "Ending Excessive Fed Dividends For Wall Street."

The Progressive Caucus had been studying the Federal Reserve and discovered that the central bank pays billions of dollars a year in dividends to banks in the U.S. It wasn't exactly a secret, but not many people on Capitol Hill knew it was going on, partly because the practice is so old -- dating back to the creation of the central bank. Cutting those dividend payments in half would shift $17 billion from banks to federal coffers.

The measure disappeared for months after the Progressive Caucus released its budget. But this summer, the Senate picked up the proposal as a way to help pay for new highway funding. After years of living with tight budgets from the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester, there just aren't that many easy targets for spending cuts in the federal budget. And the House initially followed the Senate's lead, including the dividend cut plan in its original version of the highway bill. 

 But on Thursday, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) introduced an amendment to preserve the bank dividends. In its place, Neugebauer would gut the Fed's surplus capital -- a fund the central bank uses to cushion against temporary losses that it incurs as a normal part of its everyday operations.

Slashing government payments to banks, of course, makes banks angry. But slashing the Fed's capital surplus is dangerous. Without the surplus, the Fed may be forced to focus more on turning a profit than on effectively managing the economy, driving up interest rates and unemployment in order to avoid taking political heat for being underfunded.

But making banks angry is a no-no on Capitol Hill. So 241 Republicans and 113 Democrats voted to mess with monetary policy instead of trimming the amount of free money banks receive from the federal government.

This podcast was produced and edited by Adriana Usero and Peter James Callahan, and engineered by Brad Shannon, with assistance from Christine Conetta.

To listen to this podcast later, download our show on iTunes. While you're there, please subscribe, rate and review our show. You can check out other HuffPost Podcasts here.

Have a story you'd like to hear discussed on "So, That Happened"? Email us at your...

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Freedom Caucus Votes For $17 Billion In Government Payments To Banks

(14) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 1:35 PM

WASHINGTON -- The House voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to preserve $17 billion in government payouts to banks, as part of a major highway funding bill.

The GOP had initially pressed to include other bank-friendly measures

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House Republicans Seek $17 Billion Favor For Banks In Highway Bill

(6) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 10:41 AM

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans will seek to preserve $17 billion in government payouts to banks on Thursday as part of a major highway funding bill.

Both parties consider the highway legislation a must-pass infrastructure bill to repair roads and bridges. Federal highway funding has traditionally...

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House Republicans Are Trying To Slip Bank Deregulation Into Highway Bill

(19) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 6:25 PM

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans are angling to slip two pieces of bank deregulation into a major highway funding bill that is expected to pass with broad bipartisan support.

According to a source familiar with discussions, Republicans are trying to remove tighter regulations that...

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Elizabeth Warren Warns Democrats Against Wall Street Defections

(4) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 3:00 PM

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday warned House Democrats to oppose a series of GOP-backed bills designed to roll back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.

Warren posted a statement on her official Facebook page calling...

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The House GOP Wants Private Debt Collectors To Take Over IRS Jobs

(3) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 4:24 PM

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans are pushing to give private debt collectors the right to target all unpaid tax bills, handing a traditional IRS responsibility over to an industry with a long record of consumer abuse.

Debt collection agencies frequently

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Face It: Ted Cruz Won The Republican Debate

(5) Comments | Posted October 29, 2015 | 2:08 PM

So, that happened. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) came into the third GOP presidential debate with little to lose and everything to gain. He got more out of the night than anyone else on stage.

Listen to The Huffington Post's analysis of the debate in the latest episode of the "So, That Happened" podcast above. The fun starts right off the top.

Long, long ago, in the pre-Trump political era, Cruz built his brand as the politician most willing to say and do outlandish things to whip up support from the Republican base. He almost single-handedly shut down the federal government over Obamacare in 2013, securing zero conservative policy goals while getting a lot of press clips about reading Green Eggs and Ham. But everybody who dug this stuff went to Donald Trump when the real estate billionaire started ripping on immigrants as rapists and calling his fellow Republicans soft.

While Cruz waited for Trump to flame out, conspiracy theorist and dietary supplement pitchman Ben Carson surged in the polls as an alternative for Republicans fed up with politicians in Washington. On debate night, Cruz outshone them both without targeting either. He dodged a question about the debt limit to rail against the media, generating the biggest applause of the night. As Trump and Carson delivered snoozy performances, Cruz looked fired up. 

Sure, Marco Rubio delivered what was likely a knockout blow to Jeb Bush, but let's face it: Jeb had been polling in the single digits for months, and didn't exactly look presidential in the prior debates. As Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, noted for The Atlantic, Rubio's task isn't simply to beat Bush. Rubio needs to shore up all of the conservative and establishment Republican votes, along with a big chunk of the outsider bloc. Cruz denied him the latter contingent during the debate.

Also on this week's podcast, we discuss Paul Ryan's new gig as House Speaker, Elizabeth Warren's fresh fight for a retirement security rule, a major student loan debacle and the final big budget deal standoff of the Obama era. 

This podcast was produced and edited by Adriana Usero and Peter James Callahan, and engineered by Brad Shannon, with assistance from Christine Conetta.

To listen to this podcast later, download our show on iTunes. While you're there, please subscribe, rate and review our show. You can check out other HuffPost podcasts here.

Have a story you'd like to hear discussed on "So, That Happened"? Email us at your convenience at
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