Election 2018: Wall Street v. Main Street

One of the defining issues of the 2018 campaign will be Jeff Fortenberry’s long standing support of Wall Street. This issue has been overshadowed recently by the passage of the Senate tax bill but it came to a head when Richard Cordray — an Obama appointee — resigned as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to run for Governor of Ohio. I want the voters to know that I’m running to represent Main Street and Mr. Fortenberry is running as the champion of Wall Street.

The origin of the CFPB was the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. The Dodd Frank Act passed the Congress with the support of Ben Nelson. This was the toughest and most far reaching Wall Street reform legislation since the 1930s. Johanns, Fortenberry, Smith and Terry all voted against the passage of President Obama’s Wall Street reform law.

Contrary to what you hear on Fox News and AM radio, the Wall Street reform bill has actually proven to be an unsung success. Senator Elizabeth Warren — one of the architects of Dodd-Frank — said: “President Obama delivered. He signed into law the toughest Wall Street reforms and strongest consumer protections in generations. Trust me — I’m a pretty tough grader. These new rules are making our financial system more transparent, getting rid of a lot of fine print, and making sure that if a bank screws up, you have someone to call so you don’t get stuck with the bill.”

The 2010 Wall Street reform law addresses the “too big to fail” problem by giving regulators the authority to subject the largest banks to extra regulation and to take control of the big banks if there is another financial crisis. This additional authority to actually seize control of the big banks makes another bailout very unlikely. The Dodd Frank law also requires Wall Street to keep more capital, thus reducing the prospect that excessive greed and speculation will lead to to bankruptcy.

This same banking act also created the CFPB. The idea for the CFPB originated with Elizabeth Warren and it has already substantially reduced abusive lending practices by the financial services industry. As Nobel Prize Winning Economist Paul Krugman said: “Better consumer protection means fewer bad loans, and therefore a reduced risk of financial crisis.” Moreover, the CFPB has cracked down on billions in excessive overdraft fees and has secured over $12 billion in relief for consumers since it’s inception in 2011.

It matters who runs the CFPB because that decision will determine whether or not this important (but obscure agency) represents Wall Street or Main Street. At the present time, litigation is pending that will decide whether another Obama pick or a Wall Street ally will head up this agency. Most recently, a Trump appointed federal judge sided with Wall Street.

As we discussed, Fortenberry has prioritized the interests of Wall Street over his constituents. In addition to voting against Dodd-Frank in 2010, the Nebraska CD01 representative has voted to repeal this landmark consumer protection law at least two times and to put Wall Street back in charge of our economy.

Doing away with Wall Street protections puts our entire economy at risk for another meltdown. One of the chief causes of the Great Depression was the greed and irresponsibility of the big banks of that era. In addition, the 2008–09 crash was caused by Wall Street. History teaches us that if you let Wall Street write the rules, the big banks will eventually crash the economy.

As a member of Congress, I will stand up to Wall Street. I’m running for Congress because Fortenberry puts Trump and the special interests first. I’m running to put Nebraska First, Nebraska Always. If you want different results out of Washington, you have to vote for different people.

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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