Elizabeth Warren Challenges Presidential Candidates to Stop Revolving Door Between Wall St. and Government

Jul 17, 2015 by

Election 2016

A striking challenge made at Netroots Nation on Friday.

Photo Credit: http://www.warren.senate.gov/

Elizabeth Warren has drawn a line in 2016’s presidential election sands.

Speaking at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix on Friday, she challenged the presidential candidates to stand behind legislation introduced this week that would vastly slow down the revolving door between Wall Street’s financial firms and working for the government—where high-level private sector employees end up making government decisions that favor their past employers over the public.

“We have a presidential election coming up. I think anyone running for that job—anyone who wants the power to make every key economic appointment and nomination across the federal government—should say loud and clear that they agree: we don’t run this country for Wall Street and mega corporations. We run it for people,” Warren said, according to a draft of her speech.

“Just two days ago, Tammy Baldwin introduced a new bill to slow down the revolving door,” Warren continued. “That [bill] won’t fix everything, but it will throw some heavy sand in the gears of the revolving door—and it’s a bill any presidential candidate should be able to cheer for.”

This week, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WS, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD, announced the Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act. It would end private-sector bonuses given to new government employees for entering public service, tighten lobbying restrictions, lengthen the “cooling-off period” between public service and lobbying activities—delaying former government officials’ employment by industries that they regulated, and require financial regulators to exempt themselves from more conflicts of interest than presently specified in law.

Warren, who also co-sponsored the bill, used her entire speech to challenge the candidates to back it.

“The only way that candidates for President—or for any office—will slow down the revolving door, the only way candidates will say ‘enough is enough’ is if you, you demand that they say it,” Warren said.

There is little doubt that Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent running for the Democratic nomination, will endorse the legislation. Hillary Clinton, however, is an open question.

On Monday, Clinton gave a major economic policy speech where she promised to “appoint and empower regulators who understand that too big to fail is still too big a problem,” referring to banks that have become so large know that the government has no choice but to bail them out, despite their lousy investments or outsized greed gone wrong.

According to various reports covering Netroots nation, the Clinton’s campaign would not immediately comment about whether Clinton would stand behind the proposed Baldwin-Cummings legislation.


Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008).

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