Americans Take to the Streets Demanding an End to the Era of Big Bank Recklessness

Senators, Activists Detail Fight Against Big Bank Bailouts, for Wall Street Accountability
As Senate Takes Up Tough Bill to Hold Wall Street Accountable,
Americans Take to the Streets Demanding an End to the Era of Big Bank Recklessness

NOTE: See detailed list of campaign activities below and on our coalition calendar.

Washington, DC – Leading Senators on the Banking Committee Wednesday joined with advocates for Wall Street accountability to detail a massive grassroots campaign to pass tough, new laws that disarm the Bailout Bandits and truly hold Wall Street Accountable.

“This is about holding Wall Street accountable to ensure that American taxpayers never have to bail out the big banks again,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said. “While taxpayers helped Wall Street banks get back on their feet, Main Street Americans were not so lucky. Their homes, their jobs, and their retirement accounts were lost or put at risk due to big banks that gambled with their money.  That’s why we need to pass tough Wall Street reform that holds banks accountable and ensures transparency in financial information.”

“Folks from my home state of Oregon are sick to death of being taken to the cleaners by the credit card companies and unfair overdraft fees while Wall Street executives are lining their pockets with millions of dollars in bonuses,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).  “We need transparency and strong consumer protections, we need to get the high-risk investing outside of our lending institutions, and we need to return to the days when banks’ main purpose is helping working families and small businesses thrive on Main Street.  The American people want Congress to bring accountability to Wall Street, and we’re not going to let Wall Street lobbyists stand in the way.”

“While Sen. McConnell meets with Wall Street bankers to ask what he can do for them, the American people are calling on the rest of their elected leaders to remember the rest of us and hold the big banks accountable for crashing our economy and wiping out 7 million American jobs. It is the classic David versus Goliath fight, but in this case, Goliath has a lot to answer for and we have passion, power and most importantly, people,” said Heather Booth, director of Americans for Financial Reform.

“Financial deregulation cost America twelve million jobs.  Working people expect Congress to hold Wall Street accountable for what they did– and we are taking that message from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington,” said Damon Silvers, policy director for the AFL-CIO.

“Instead of lending in our communities like they’re supposed to, banks are spending millions to lobby against financial reforms that would keep our economy safe,” said Myra Lewis, a community leader with National People’s Action affiliate GRO-Grass Roots Organizing in Missouri, “Americans are asking their elected officials: Which side are you on? The people’s, or the big banks’?”

“The American people are tired of paying the price for Wall Street’s mistakes,” said Bill Ragen, Deputy Director of the SEIU’s Banking and Finance Campaign. “That’s why thousands of Americans will take to the street across the country next week to demand that Wall Street start helping our communities and families recovery.  That’s why we’re demanding the Senate act swiftly to pass strong Wall Street reform that protects consumers and prevents taxpayers from paying for Wall Street’s future mistakes. And that’s why Americans from across the country will descend on Washington next month to take on the lobbyists and corporate interests that continue to infect our political system with greed and gridlock.”

“As faith leaders every day we see the devastating impact that the financial crisis is having on our families who have lost their jobs, their homes and their life savings as a result of irresponsible bank practices,” said Rev. Dr. George Cummings, Co-Chair, PICO National Network. “That is why we see holding banks accountable through strong financial reform legislation as both a human and a moral imperative.”


The Cavalry Has Arrived

As Senate Takes Up Legislation to Clean Up Wall Street Massive Campaign Underway to Ensure Banks are Held Accountable

The big banks shattered our economy and left workers and our communities to clean up the pieces. We’ve lost 8 million jobs, 1 out of every 8 mortgages is in default of foreclosure, and our cities, counties and states teeter on the edge of bankruptcy. Now the same banks that we bailed-out are pouring $1.4 million a-day into the Senate to stop real Wall Street reform.

Monday April 19

AARP Kicks Off Major Advertising and Education Campaign:
AARP put significant resources toward a multi-pronged media and outreach campaign encouraging senators to put consumers ahead of financial institutions. The campaign includes significant levels of television, radio and print ads in twelve states.

Laborers, building trades workers come to Washington, April 19-20
Thousands of laborers and building trades union members will lobby the Senate, focusing on provisions in the Wall Street reform bill to strengthen investor say in corporate governance;

Tuesday, April 20

Businesses, Economists Call for Real Derivatives Reform
Airline and home heating oil executives, including the Air Transport Association president, join renowned experts, economists and reform champion Sen. Maria Cantwell in press conference to call for an end to speculation that jacks up the price of food and energy.

Rallying in New York
Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, members of the New York City Council and the Americans for Financial Reform coalition in New York City joined forces to call for tough new rules to protect consumers from shady lenders.

Wednesday April 21

AUFC’s Bailout Bandits hits the airwaves
Americans United for Change launches 5-figure cable television buy of ads warning Americans to stop the Bailout Bandits before they once again hijack our democracy and cost us 8 million American jobs.

MoveOn Ads Go Up Targeting McConnell meeting with Wall Street: Political Action puts up major television advertising buy nationally as well as radio ads in Maine and Ohio.

Selling Goldman Sachs the Brooklyn Bridge
Community activists will rally at the worldwide headquarters of Goldman Sachs, and display a banner offering the famous N.Y. bridge for sale as they replicate the unscrupulous practices – utilized by Goldman and other Wall St. firms – that brought down the world’s economy.;

Thursday April 22

Ringing off the hook:
Over the next two weeks, literally millions of Americans will get the message, via phone and email, to call their senators and hold them accountable for holding Wall Street accountable.Tuesday April 27

March and Rally at Wells Fargo Shareholder Meeting
San Francisco, CA – contact:
More than 1,000 clergy, workers, community allies to stage procession through downtown San Francisco to Wells Fargo shareholder meeting.

Showdown in the Heartland
Kansas City, MO – contact:
Hundreds of retirees, family farmers, and workers from across the heartland to march on Kansas City’s financial district and demand Bank of America divest from payday lending.

Wednesday, April 28

AARP leaders come to Washington
Leading advocates and voices for senior citizens from 12 key states are coming to Washington to meet with Senators

AFR leaders come to Washington
Leading advocates for financial reform and victims of tricks, traps and abuse by lenders will take to the Hill to lobby in favor of real reform

March and Rally at Bank of America Shareholder Meeting
Charlotte, NC – contact:
Hundreds of veterans, clergy, working families to march on Bank of America shareholder meeting.

Illinois Rally for Jobs and Financial Reform
Hundreds of workers, advocates, business owners, join forces to March on key symbolic locations like the Chicago Headquarters of Goldman Sachs.

Thursday, April 29

Showdown on Wall Street
New York, NY contact:
Thousands to stage massive march on Wall Street to hold big banks accountable for destroying the economy and demand Wall Street do its part to help our families and communities recover.

May 15-17

Showdown on K Street
Washington, DC contact:
Over 3 days, thousands of Americans will come to Washington DC to take their democracy back from the big banks and demand an end to corporate lobbyists’ stranglehold on our economy and politics.