New Video from AU: Tell Wall Street to Stop Shorting America & Defrauding Reform

Americans United for Change has come out with a new video about bringing honesty back into discussions about financial reform.  See below for the video and press release.

Washington DC – Leading Wall Street reform advocate Simon Johnson minced no words during his public lecture “Wall Street and Washington” at Harvard Kennedy School tonight, assailing what he called ‘fraud’ on Wall Street that caused the collapse of the financial system – fraud that Congress must rein in now to prevent another economic crisis.  Before delivering his speech, Johnson showed the audience a new video from Americans United for Change called ‘Fraud.’ See script below and watch it here.

Johnson, a Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and co-author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown,” recounted his recent personal experience with the deceptive practices of agents of the big Wall Street banks, when astroturf group ‘Stop Too Big To Fail’ deceptively promoted him on their website as an ally in their misinformation campaign to kill financial regulatory reform.  Johnson’s experience was reported extensively on and on The Rachel Maddow Show, which both noted that ‘Stop Too Big To Fail’ has links to DCI Group, a “Washington public affairs firm that specializes in astroturf efforts and has worked for everyone from the Burmese junta to the tobacco industry.”

‘Stop Too Big To Fail’ has since taken to the air with $1.6 million in misleading attack ads targeting Senators in Nevada, Missouri, and Virginia that uses the same false, widely discredited bank “bailout fund” rhetoric that Congressional Republicans have been using for weeks in their efforts to kill reform – rhetoric cribbed directly from a ‘how to kill reform’ memo from Wall Street financed pollster Frank Luntz.

Professor Simon Johnson: “As Senator Ted Kaufman has been insisting for some time: There is fraud at the heart of Wall Street.  We have learned in the past few days that fraud was not just a key component of the “boom” over the past decade and the “bailout” of 2008-09, but it extends so far as attempted identity theft – undermining attempts to have a genuine debate regarding the future of financial regulation.  If the appalling and disgusting practices evident in some parts of the financial sector are not currently illegal, this just strengthens the case for strengthening our laws and rules.  Financial sector practices of this nature threaten to undermine our democracy.”

Tom McMahon, Acting Executive Director, Americans United for Change: “The deceit that Professor Johnson fell victim to is quite disturbing and shows that the big Wall Street banks are literally willing to say or do anything to kill reform.  Is it any surprise that the group that perpetrated this fraud has ties to a corporate PR firm that represented the likes of big tobacco and the dictatorship in Burma? Is it any surprise that their rhetoric mimics the widely discredited talking points straight from the ‘kill reform’ playbook of Wall Street financed pollster Frank Luntz?  These kinds of smear tactics are emblematic of the kind of recklessness and greed on Wall Street that led to the financial collapse and left 8 million people without jobs.  Does Congress need any more reasons to support strong, comprehensive financial reform now?