I am writing to announce the formation of a new pro bono group and a policy initiative that we hope many of our readers will support and help publicize. Gary Aguirre, Bill Black, Richard Bowen, and Michael Winston are the founding members of the Bank Whistleblowers United. We are all from the general field of finance and we are all whistleblowers who are unemployable in finance and financial regulation because we spoke truth to power and committed the one unforgivable sin in finance and in Washington, D.C. -- being repeatedly proved correct when the powerful are repeatedly proved wrong.
Economists rely largely on "revealed preference" -- we think what you do matters more than what you say. For nearly seven years, every financial firm has known about my three colleagues. They are famous for their skills, courage, and integrity. Every financial firm claims that it now wants to make integrity their credo. Any financial firm that actually was committed to making integrity its credo, as opposed to its spin, would have long since hired my colleagues. Similarly, any government regulator, enforcer, or prosecutor that was serious about restoring the rule of law on Wall Street would have recruited us.
Our group publicly released four documents on January 29, 2016. The first outlines our proposals, all but one of which could be implemented within 60 days by any newly-elected President (or President Obama) without any new legislation or rulemaking. Most of our proposals consist of the practical steps a President could implement to restore the rule of law to Wall Street. As such, we expect that candidates of every party and philosophy will find most of our proposals to be matters that they strongly support and will pledge to implement.
The second document fleshes out and explains the proposals. We ask each candidate to pledge in writing to implement the portions of our plan that they specify to be provisions they support. Again, we invite President Obama to do the same.
The third document asks each candidate to pledge not to take campaign contributions from financial felons. That group, according to the federal agencies that have investigated them, includes virtually all the largest banks.
The fourth document explains why we formed our group is and contains our bios. I am personally proud and honored to be associated with my colleagues in this endeavor. We are (and have been) actively reaching out to encourage other bank whistleblowers to join Bank Whistleblowers United. The founding members of our group share some common traits, but are also diverse in our views. Overall, the bank whistleblowers that tried so hard and paid such a large price for trying to protect the public from the most recent crisis are an exceptionally diverse group of people and we want our group to reflect that full diversity. We cannot, however, in good conscience fail to act now given the urgency of the problems caused by the collapse of personal accountability for Wall Street elites. Our economy and our democracy are both imperiled by that collapse and require urgent redress. Please help us to get our proposals to every candidate, the media, and the public. Please ask the candidates you support to go on record supporting our initiatives and our campaign financing pledge.