ACTION: Support Consumer Protection and Financial Equality: Defend against The Financial CHOICE Act.
BACKGROUND: On June 8th, while the world was watching the Comey Testimony and President #45 was speaking to his base supporters at a D.C. Luncheon Fundraiser, the United States House of Representatives was hard at work. Along party line votes they pushed through a bill on financial reform which will destroy almost all of the protections under the notable, bipartisan Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection bill of 2010. The new "Financial CHOICE Act" was written under chairman Jeb Hensarling R-TX, of the House Financial Services committee. Mr. Hensarling is known as a tough ideologue who believes that government should have very little regulatory involvement in any institution. In keeping with that philosophy, The Financial CHOICE Act will roll back all of the Consumer Protections put in place after the major Financial crash of 2008. While Dodd-Frank is not perfect and could use some amendments to improve it, this bill goes to far. It destroys the essence of all that is beneficial in Dodd-Frank.
One of the biggest problems for main-street Americans is that this bill will scale back and replace theConsumer Financial Protection Bureau. This government agency makes sure banks, lenders and other financial institutions treat consumers fairly and honestly. They investigate complaints of unjust-unfair practices. They supply answers and assistance with paying for college, owning a home, planning for retirement, and credit card issues. Most importantly they hold companies accountable for illegal practices. The CHOICE Act erodes their authority and removes the tools and regulations needed to protect everyday Americans.
Additionally, this roll back of protections will limit shareholders' abilities to hold corporations to ethical, environmental or climate related standards of business conduct. It limits shareholders' ability to pose questions for consideration and awareness to other stake holders, by defining how much one owns as a threshold for speech. For example, by law, currently anyone holding $2000 or 1% of total shares in a company, that shareholder can write a 'shareholder resolution' to be voted upon by all shareholders. These resolutions generally bring social concerns and ethical business modes of conduct to the table for consideration by all stock holders. This consideration is often the impetus needed for decisions of conduct to be made. This social pressure helps big corporations to do what is right, not only what is profitable. Under the new Financial CHOICE Act that definition is raised to purely 1% ownership or greater. This means in a large corporation, ( such as oil, auto, energy and insurance companies, etc.) an individual stock holder may need to own up to $3.4 Billion in stock before they can write a stockholder resolution to have a say as to how the company conducts its business. This is incredibly important because it puts a limit on freedom of speech, within the rules of stock ownership, into the hands of BIG money people only.
What to do?
Call the members of the Senate and request they hold the line against The Financial CHOICE Act.
Sample Script: "Senator, please protect me and my family from repeating the disasters of the 2008 financial crisis. Say NO to the Financial CHOICE Act. It is bad for America. It is bad for me! Say No to the repeal of the Dodd -Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The Financial CHOICE Act of 2017
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
From National Public Radio
Report from The Energy 202, from the Washington Post
What does the Dodd-Frank Reform Bill do?
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act