Midnight Massacre Pending, Let’s Whip our Senators

Submitted by Mary Bottari on May 13, 2010 – 12:00

The good news on the Senate financial reform bill these days is that we have a few provisions worth fighting for. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has introduced one of the most important – a bold section in the Dodd bank reform bill (Section 716, colloquially known as 106) that will force the biggest banks to spin off their swaps (or derivatives) desks into a separate entity. That entity will be regulated and can remain part of the bank holding company, but it no longer has access to the Federal Reserve’s flow of funds, FDIC insurance and the taxpayer guarantee. Supporters include legendary economists and public policy experts such as Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, Nouriel Roubini, and Michael Greenberger.

In one fell swoop, Lincoln’s measure will effectively protect taxpayers, downsize the behemoth banks, and end the federal guarantees behind big bank gambling. It’s the strongest structural reform measure in the bill. These swaps have previously helped the 5 largest banks grow to mega-size and then take down the country. The 5 of them – J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley – account for 90 percent of these derivatives. Lincoln’s amendment will go right after the deals that Goldman Sachs is now being officially investigated for and Lincoln’s language is #1 on their hit list.

But the problem of course is that the Goldman Gang in Congress, like Senators Gregg and Chambliss, are lining up to strip this provision one way or other. They are being aided and abetted by conservative democrats like Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. Watch this smug interview where he talks about his hopes to defeat every good amendment. I, for one, am thrilled that he announced he will be retiring this year.

We have a right to know if our Senators will vote to end the federal funding of the Wall Street casino or vote to take Blanche Lincoln’s language out of the bill.

We know what we need to do — it’s time for a whip count and a little push and shove. We need to find out which senators will support real reform and which ones won’t. Just follow these three easy steps to make sure Senators work on our behalf. Please make your call today. It takes two minutes to reach out to two Senators.

1. Call (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senators representing your state.

2. Ask them: “Does Senator XXXX support Blanche Lincoln’s proposal for spinning off swap desks?” and you can follow up with something like “I expect my Senator to support the Lincoln language and to reject any amendments that weaken derivatives reform in the bill, such as Senator Gregg’s amendment to kill Lincoln’s language.”

3. Report back if your Senator is for, against, undecided, leaning one way or the other, here in the comments. Details are really helpful. As soon as we hear from you, we’ll update our whip count.

4. If you like what we’re doing at BanksterUSA, please sign up to get the latest, sign up at the top of every page.

Current whip count for Lincoln’s Section 716:

Good (Supports Lincoln’s language):

Durbin (D, IL)

Cantwell (D, WA) but this

(and this)

Grassley (R, IA)

Snowe (R, ME)

Leahy (D, VT)

Conrad (D, ND)

Baucus (D, MT)

Stabenow (D, MI)

Ben Nelson (D, NE)

Sherrod Brown, (D, OH)

Casey (D, PA)

Klobuchar (D, MN)

Bennett (D, CO)

Leaning Good (One more call might be the tipping point):

Lincoln (D, AR)

Undecided (One more call might be the tipping point):

Gillibrand (D, NY) (voted for in committee)

Coburn (R, OK)

Inhoffe (R, OK)

Schumer (D, NY)


Leaning Bad (Needs to hear from you):

Warner (D, VA)]

Shelby (R, AL)

Bennett (R, UT)

Cochran (R, MS)

Cornyn (R, TX)

Crapo (R, ID)

Hutchison (R, TX)

McConnell (R, KY)

Roberts (R, KS)

Thune (R, SD)

Vitter (R, LA)

Boxer (R, CA)

Byrd (D, WV)

(D, WV)

Menendez (D, NJ)

Lautenberg (D, NJ)

Enzi (R, WY)

Barasso (R, WY)

Bad (Time to start spanking):


Bayh (D, IN)

Johanns (R, NE)

Chambliss (R, GA) (co-sponsor)

Gregg(R, NH) (co-sponsor)

Corker (R, TN) (co-sponsor)

“In my view, banks were never intended to perform these activities, which have been the single largest factor in these institutions growing so large that taxpayers had no choice but to bail them out in order to prevent total economic ruin,” says Lincoln.

Mary Bottari’s blog

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currently, 2 republicans for, 2 democrats against

Submitted by Anonymous on May 20, 2010 – 15:42.

http://tinyurl.com/2axenmy has the whole story

Summarized: The chamber approved the motion to end debate on a 60-40 vote. A similar attempt to end the debate failed 57-42 Wednesday afternoon.

Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) voted to approve the cloture motion after voting against it yesterday. He was the critical “aye” vote needed to obtain the 60 votes needed to end a Republican filibuster. Two other Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R., Maine) joined the majority of Democrats seeking to wrap up work on the bill.

Two Democrats, Maria Cantwell of Washington and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, voted for the second straight day against ending the debate


New York-counting the calls

Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2010 – 13:50.

I called both Gillibrand and Schumer-they both are on the fence-counting constituent calls–and probably weighing them against the big contributions from the other side.

Since Gillibrand is now up for re-election she may be more willing to follow her constituents–THIS TIME.-but she is counting the calls.



Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2010 – 13:14.

I called both Senators between 1:45 & 2:10–a lot of time on hold. Neither Senator has made a public statement about how they’ll vote on Lincoln. I fumed to the aides about that–told them as a life-long democrat I’m completely steamed about being ripped off by the banks and investment companies, and that I am ready to withdraw my support for them if they don’t vote for the Lincoln amendment. I guess I’ll call tomorrow after I know how they voted to give further feedback and advocate for campagn finance refor. I’ll tell them that it’ll be clear to me if they vote against the Lincoln amendment that they’re bought and owned by Goldman Sachs et al.


what state?

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 19, 2010 – 19:30.

hey, great job! what state are you in?


swaps amendment – Oregon senators – update from Bob Roth

Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2010 – 11:21.

Neither Jeff Merkley nor Ron Wyden’s offices had information on where thoswe senators stand with respect to the amendment. I had a somewhat extensive talk with the person who answered the phone in each office, who in each case was at least generally familiar with the whole matter of financial reform, and I conveyed to both my request that they support the Lincoln amendment — which I described as the effort to isolate the swaps desks, allowing them to be part of the bank holding companies but removing them from access to Fed funds, FDIC coverage, and taxpayer liability; I also mentioned the backing of Jos. Stiglitz and Nouriel Roubini for the amendment — quite a combination in my view. I think conveying the substance in that way was probably at least as useful as pinpointing amendment numbers.

I also conveyed to Jeff Merkley’s office that I understood Jeff had been a leader in the effort to break up the big banks, but that his rep had suffered for not supporting the Vitters amendment (to audit the Fed). His staffperson said Jeff had supported the Sanders amendment to audit the Fed. I said I understood that amendment was better than nothing, but that the Vitters approach was better.

And I conveyed to Ron Wyden’s office that the Senator — who is up for reelection this year — was emerging as a hero on the web for having voted both to break up the big banks and to audit the Fed, and that I hoped he would vote to isolate the swaps desks, as described above, as well. Bob Roth


that’s fantastic!

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 19, 2010 – 19:35.

i’ll mark these. this is great info that’s really helpful.



Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 19, 2010 – 11:19.

Where are the Wisconsin Senators. I don’t know and neither do the people working for them. Good luck getting through. Marjorie


Maryland Senators: “No Position” on Lincoln’s amendment

Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2010 – 11:09.

May 19th, 2010

I called both Maryland Senators at 11:45 am on Wed. May 19th. Neith Senator Ben Cardin or Barbara Mikulski had positions on the derivatives amendment put forth by Senator Lincoln, according to their Washington offices, even though a vote may be just hours away.

Interesting, because both Maryland Senators supported Sen Brown’s (Ohio) amendment on May 6th to “break up the big banks,” which was defeated 33 to 61, and that would seem to have been the more sweeping proposal.

Bill Neil

Rockville, MD



Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 19, 2010 – 11:00.

I called our Maryland Senators at 11:45 am on Wednesday, May 19th, and spoke with aides in their Washington offices. Neither had taken a position yet on Senator Lincoln’s amendment on derivatives, even though the vote may be just hours away. I expressed my disappointment.

Both Cardin and Mikulski had voted in favor of breaking up large banks on the No. 3733 amendment (Sen. Brown, Ohio) on May 6th, which, one could reason, is the more sweeping proposal…go figure.



as usual/ca

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 19, 2010 – 10:57.

called both Senators Boxer and Feinstein and urged them to oppose any effort to strip the language Lincoln added to regulate derivatives.

As usual, neither of the staffers would give the Senators’ respective positions, but the person I spoke to at Senator Feinstein’s office said that she has consistently supported strong derivatives regulation. He was unaware of amendment #4110.



Dodd’s office called

Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2010 – 10:43.

I simply identified myself as outside Dodd’s district calling b/c “in the finance reform bill his putting in a last minute amendment number 4110 to gut derivatives from being bailed out is a god-damned shame and he deserves the worst for it!”.


NM senators not shown

Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2010 – 10:27.

The senators from NM are not listed. Are they too small to bother with?


they haven’t been contacted yet, good call!

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 19, 2010 – 10:29.

can you call them? no one has called them. they are important, call for a filibuster!



Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2010 – 00:44.

Both senators could not be pinned down

McCain: Staff told me all she does is take message and pass along. She doesn’t know what his pos’n is.

Kyl: Get no answer, IN D.C. ! Yes I left a message that banks need to be split off from FDIC backing. But what does he want to do?


thanks so much!

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 19, 2010 – 10:56.

great message, that is perfectly positive.


Gillibrand and Schumer

Submitted by Anonymous on May 18, 2010 – 16:17.

both offices say undecided.



Submitted by Anonymous on May 18, 2010 – 16:15.

Senator Enzi and Senator Barasso both said that they were still looking at the bill. Enzi is pushing a bad bill to keep prosecutors for investigating abuses against consumers, so it’s not likely he is going to help on this one.


UPDATE on Lincoln/Dodd, Manager’s Amendment

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 18, 2010 – 15:10.

Don’t know if this is news, but I called Dodd and Lincoln’s offices to let them know the public is aware of watering down in manager’s amendment discussions and to ask if Dodd planned to put Carper language in the manager’s amendment. Got the usual demurring but figured them knowing the public was aware of inside dealing couldn’t hurt. Re: Lincoln, mentioned that I’d called and thanked her for derivatives amendment when we were telling her to support B-K. I let them know I’m a ‘regular person who’s gotten energized’ around the stakes on financial reform. Anyway, her staffer transferred me to Ag Cmtee to get details and that staffer moved me up to a senior staffer when he heard I was from Seattle. We spent several minutes in conversation and he said, interestingly enough, that discussions were going in the ‘other direction’ not getting weaker. Huh!? He also let me know Ms Lincoln appreciated Cantwell’s support (she may also be involved in the discussions on amendment language as well).


this is absolutely the most important thing now

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 18, 2010 – 15:24.

we need to let lincoln and dodd know that we are watching.

UPDATE: Our effort to fight for the only thing with teeth left in the Dodd bill, is going to be taken out without even getting a vote. It’s probably going to be stripped via a Dodd manager’s amendment, which is being created privately in negotiations with Lincoln, Shelby and likely dozens of bank lobbyists.

please see: http://banksterusa.org/content/lincoln-chief-architect-massacre



From New Jersey.

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 21:15.

I spoke with staffers in both Senator Lautenberg’s and Senator Menendez’ offices this morning. They gave me the brush off. They will not commit….they say there are so many amendments they are still reading them all…claiming they haven’t fully assessed the Lincoln amendment on removing swap desks or made up their minds yet. I asked why they didn’t support the Brown-Kaufman amendment They said the Dodd bill had things in it that made it strong enough without Brown-Kaufman. I urged them to think seriously about Lincoln amendment and support it, but I’m not very hopeful about these two in New Jersey. Martha



Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 20:54.

Called Cantwell’s office and her staffer was unsure – checked to see if she’d made a statement on it yet, then came back and said she hadn’t – implies they think she’s undecided. Left a msg on Murray’s voicemail and will try her office again…=)Val


New York

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 20:30.


Just called Senator Gillibrand’s office and was told that she is on the Agricultural Committee with Blanche Lincoln but is still UNDECIDED as to that amendment.

Tried to get “Chuckie”‘s office but just got numerous rings and then a busy signal.




Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 20:25.

I couldn’t get through on the phone so I sent her a fax.



Phoned my NJ Senators today 5/17/2010

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 20:22.

I phoned NJ Senator Robert Menendez. staff member said he is undecided.

NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg I had to leave my message on his voice mail. will try again tomorrow.

I wish you folks lots of luck on this one. It’s a shame we the people vote these Senators into office and then watch them being bought by the big corporations.



re: Gillibrand and Schumer

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 17:24.

As of 3:25 today, Schumer’s office says that “He voted to begin debate of it; voted with the Democrats for it.” I asked is that the same as he’s in favor of the language. Man responded, Again he voted for it.” Not sure it answers the question but there it is.

As of 3:25 today, Gillibrand’s office is still stating she is undecided. Young man took my message where I stated that since Glass-Steagall was not likely to be reinstated and that banking was no place for gambling, that I hoped and expected that she would vote for a very strict bill including tough derivatives language such as Blanche Lincoln’s.



washington state

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 09:33.

I’ve left messages for Wa State senators Murray and Cantwell, though I’m sure we can count a no vote for them…. since they voted yes on SAFE, and Murray is co-sponsor of Merkley/Levin.



My Oklahoma Senators are No Good

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 09:27.

I wouuld bet money that Coburn and Inhoffe will be against because they always help the No Good Wealthy People steal the money. That is why I have never voted for them. Most of the voters in Oklahoma are the most stupid of all the USA. That is why the Republicans have made Oklahoma the worst state in the USA. I will be glad when I get to move away from Oklahoma.




Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 09:25.

About two weeks ago, I called Senator Diane Feinstein’s office in D.C. I

asked her staff person, Zack, if my Senator, Diane Feinstein, would be

voting for the Safe Banking Act of 2010 and Blanche Lincoln’s derivatives

amendment. Zack replied, “Senator Feinstein des not reveal how she is going

to vote on pending legislation.” I couldn’t believe it. I reminded Zack I am

a constituent and Senator Feinstein is supposed to be representing me and

has an obligation to reveal how she will be voting. Again, Zack repeated,

“Senator Feinstein does not reveal how she plans to vote in pending

legislation.” He added, “We have been receiving a lo of calls on these

issues.” I asked Zack to tell Senator Feinstein I will be watching how she

votes on real upcoming Wall Street reform.” Zack said he would pass my

comment on to Senator Feinstein and then hung up. As we all now know, the

Safe Banking Act died in committee. My Senator, Diane Feinstein did NOT vote

for the Safe Banking Act. Since she refuses to tell her constituents how she

will vote, I have no idea if she will be voting for Lincoln’s amendment. I

can tell you this, Senator Feinstein has consistently voted for Wall Street

and against us. Check out her record for yourself. She’s a big time

Bankster, always has been and always will be. Senator Feinstein has a lot

of nerve refusing to tell her own constituents how she plans to vote on

legislation, especially Wall Street Reform. Senator Feinstein has been in

the Senate for far too long and has almost always voted with and for

corporate America and against her constituents and

Main Street America. Senator Feinstein has to go!




Feinstein the Bankster

Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2010 – 15:20.

Feinstein epitomizes the calcification of career politicians. Feinstein knows where her bread is buttered, and she follows the money. Individual constituents can’t, and don’t, donate enough money to her campaign to get her attention, so she ignores us.

In 2007, she voted to grant the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad (DM&E) a $2.3 billion loan. This was a government bailout of private industry a couple of years before that became a national story. DM&E had numerous safety and environmental violations and had repeatedly proven itself to be a bad actor. Even the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) cited an “unacceptably high risk to taxpayers” in denying the loan. Yet, Feinstein was undeterred.

I wrote Feinstein and encouraged her not to bail them out. Yet, she sided with DM&E anyway. I’ve never forgotten it.

She represent banks and corporations, not her constituents, the citizens of California.

– Sean Kennedy



Submitted by Anonymous on May 19, 2010 – 13:34.

I called both my senators today and got the same non commital reply that no public statement had been issued by either of them. I told both assistants that this was totaly unsatisfactory, and I wouldn’t vote again for Barbara (Dianne isn’t running again, I don’t think she could win!)if she is not goung to take a public stand and that tha pubbic stand should support the concept that the government is there to support and protect the PEOPLE of our country. I said that she should consider dropping out of the race if she can’t do this because she won’t be elected. A majority is speaking up that they are done with this kind of government!!


Feinstein Inc.

Submitted by Anonymous on May 17, 2010 – 18:47.

Senator Feinstein isn’t running again, so she doesn’t care a rat’s butt what her constituents want. She never did, and has always been the willing tool of corporations, but now she doesn’t even have to try to pretend that she cares about us.




Submitted by Anonymous on May 17, 2010 – 14:18.

I get similar responses from both my California Senators — that they will make public statements about particular legislation after it’s voted on. Yes, Feinstein needs to go, but Boxer needs to know that she’s going to be out, too, if she doesn’t stop politicking and actively support what’s right. Boxer consistently restricts her votes for strong legislation to when she’s on the losing side often supports bills that can gather brownie points for their intent, but which are useless because they lack teeth.

Aides for both senators I just spoke with today (5/17/10) repeated their same evasive mantra about not releasing public statements in response to my questions about Senator Lincoln’s section of the reform bill regulating derivatives.

I let them know that I strongly supported Lincoln’s language and expected both my senators too come out immediately with a statement in support of it and in opposition to any attempt to water down or weaken it in any way.




Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 20:35.

thanks again for calling, if you want to call other senators, please do!


thanks so much!

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 20:34.

thanks for making this happen! great info.


Feinstein and Boxer

Submitted by Anonymous on May 17, 2010 – 20:33.

Called both of them today to urge support for the McCain-Cantwell amendment as well which will reinstate a full glass-steagall, should would separate the casino sides from the banking sides, making banking safe once again. should wall street banks fail, which they will due to their nature, nobody will shed a tear and there won’t be one bit of danger to the economy.


west virginia

Submitted by Tiffiniy Cheng on May 17, 2010 – 09:21.

I called both Senator Byrd and Rockefeller. No one in. Left message.