Cantwell Urges Senate to Pass Strong Financial Reform, Look After Main Street, Not Wall Street

"I get it because I had to live through the Enron crisis in our state, and a lot of people cooked up off-book accounting."

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a leader on financial regulatory reform, spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the urgent need to protect Main Street through strong reform of the derivatives market as part of the larger effort to pass banking and financial reform legislation in the Senate.  
For full video remarks of Senator Cantwell’s floor speech, click here.
Click here to view the charts Senator Cantwell referenced during her floor speech.
High quality audio available upon request. Please have time codes handy when calling.
Below are excerpts from Senator Cantwell’s speech and video time codes:
“Wall Street’s not putting money into Main Street. Wall Street’s putting money into Wall Street dark markets. And we have to get on this legislation to fix that.” [13:01-13:10]
“We’re not helping the American economy in investing in Detroit or investing in software. Not the way we used to. We’re basically investing, and people are making a ton of money in dark market derivatives, so that’s why it’s important that we get out here and fix this legislation.”[11:52-12:11]
“This is an important issue, and let me explain why. Because when you look at capital markets, you have to have transparency. If you don’t have transparency, people don’t know what’s going on and products can be manipulated. After the 2000 Commodities Futures Modernization Act, basically on derivatives you had no transparency, no capital requirements, no prohibition on fraud, no prohibition on manipulation and no regulation of the intermediaries. Why are we surprised that we ended up in this situation?”[6:13-6:47]
“I get it because I had to live through the Enron crisis in our state, and a lot of people cooked up off-book accounting. … We found out that it was people manipulating supply and demand with various schemes called Dust Star, Get Shorty – a variety of schemes that all came down to this: Off-book accounting.”[3:52-4:22]
“I am concerned that we’re not going to get to this legislation, that the dark market is going to continue to operate that way, or that people are going to propose loopholes to basically water this legislation down. …It’s kind of like water. The money is going to flow were it can. If it’s a dark market, that’s where the market is going to flow.”[16:07-16:48]
“As another New York Times editorial said, ‘Strong derivatives reform is a matter of putting taxpayers first – ahead of big banks and corporate America that are fighting hard for a return to risky business as usual.’ We don’t need risky business as usual, Madam President. We need to reform these markets. Let’s get capital flowing again to innovation, service, in important areas of our economy, and know that a fundamental rule to markets and capitalism is to have transparency and [make sure] the legislation we’re considering do just that. Hopefully the Republicans will say what true reforms they are for and realize that, in the past, they have been against some of the derivatives reforms that would have stopped us from having this crisis.”[18:02-18:52]
See below for more information, including links to video, on Senator Cantwell’s efforts to strengthen financial regulations, prevent market manipulation and forestall a recurrence of the financial collapse.