Banking & Finance

Wall Street Regulator Coddles Big Banks but Clobbers Small Firms
Lenient treatment from the SEC leaves misconduct unchecked

Protesters call for higher taxes on big banks in 2012. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images file photo)

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest financial services firm, has paid $28 billion to settle cases brought by federal agencies in the past 10 years, most of them related to the 2008 financial crisis.

Yet the massive fines extracted from banks like JPMorgan for their role in the Wall Street meltdown have done little to deter other types of misconduct in the decade since, and one reason is lenient treatment from the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to our analysis of SEC enforcement records with a Georgetown University law professor.

Democratic Senators Ask If CFPB Nominee Worked on Immigration Policy Separating Children and Parents
Kathy Kraninger’s role at OMB involves oversight of DHS and Justice

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wants to know if President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the CFPB was involved in drafting the new immigration enforcement policy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Did President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau approve the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has led to a wave of families being separated near the Southern border?

That is the question posed by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to Kathy Kraninger, the program associate director at the Office of Management and Budget whose job includes policy implementation oversight for both the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department, according to the senators.

Despite New CFPB Nominee, Mulvaney Could Be Around a Long Time
Observers see the pick as a strategic move to extend his tenure

The clock is ticking on Mick Mulvaney’s time as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is capped at 210 days. But that doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats could play into the White House’s hand if they plan to delay President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, experts say.

The White House announced Saturday that the president intends to nominate Kathy Kraninger, who is currently an associate director of the Office of Management and Budget, where Mick Mulvaney is the director.

Warren Says Democrats Lack Guts to Take on ‘Billionaire Class’
Comes after she criticized other Democrats during Dodd-Frank fight

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner hold a news conference on Thursday to discuss bipartisan action they are taking to put marijuana legislation into the hands of state lawmakers. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized fellow Democrats who voted for interests of the “billionaire class” over those of most Americans.

“Until we have all of the Democrats who are willing to take on the billionaire class, until we have all of the Democrats who are willing to fight for the American people and not for a handful of billionaires and giant corporations, then it’s going to stay an uphill fight,” she said on The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan’s “Deconstructed” podcast released Friday.

Corker Unveils Plan to Give Congress Power to Stop Trump Trade Actions
Bipartisan bill was filed despite opposition from the White House

Sens. Bob Corker and Heidi Heitkamp are among the leaders of an effort to put new constraints on the imposition of tariffs for national security purposes.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bob Corker followed through Wednesday on unveiling legislation to increase congressional oversight of tariffs applied in the context of national security.

Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 grants the executive branch authority to impose tariffs to protect vital interests, but Corker and others argue that President Donald Trump is misapplying the law — using it against allies instead of adversaries.

Sometimes, the Dissidents Do Leadership a Solid
As immigration debate shows, rare House discharge petitions can force the majority out of a self-made jam

A discharge petition filed by GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo has put pressure on his own party’s leaders to strike a deal on immigration — but they may not hold it against him, Hawkings writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It sounds like something that might be overheard at the congressional appliance dealership: Power abhors a vacuum, especially when there’s a political mess overdue for cleanup, and a great tool for fixing all that is a discharge petition.

It’s also an apt summation of what’s going on now with the Republican catharsis over immigration — which is notably similar to what went down three years ago, during the last House majority leadership interregnum, and also to another fabled GOP rift back in 2002.

Bipartisan Breakout Gives Vulnerable Senators Wins Ahead of Recess
VA and banking bills headline measures heading to President Donald Trump

Sen. Jon Tester is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents will be scoring big legislative victories just in time for the Memorial Day parades.

The most timely outbreak of bipartisanship will come with passage, expected Wednesday afternoon, of a bill designed to improve health care access and options for veterans, known as the VA MISSION Act.

For GOP, Death of Manufacturing Loan Program Finally in Sight
Unspent money dating back years makes it an easy, yet still elusive, target

Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is no fan of the loan program for energy efficient vehicles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One way or another, the Energy Department’s direct loan program for fuel-efficient car manufacturers looks destined for the chopping block.

Once viewed as a lifeline for Detroit’s “Big Three” manufacturers facing economic headwinds even before the onset of the Great Recession, the program is now little more than a kitty of untapped funds appropriated a decade ago. The last major Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program loan was approved conditionally in 2015, but Arconic Inc., whose former parent Alcoa secured the loan to produce lightweight vehicle materials at its Tennessee plant, turned the money down last year.

Ahead of NRA Speech, Cruz Bashes Big Banks Over Restrictions on Guns
Texas Republican expected to speak after Pence, Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was among the scheduled spears at Friday’s NRA convention. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ahead of his own speech to the National Rifle Association Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz was focused on a pair of big banks that are imposing restrictions on firearm sales conducted by their business partners.

“Under this new policy, we will require new retail sector clients or partners to adhere to these best practices: (1) they don’t sell firearms to someone who hasn’t passed a background check, (2) they restrict the sale of firearms for individuals under 21 years of age, and (3) they don’t sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines,” Citi said in its March announcement of the gun policy changes. “This policy will apply across the firm, including to small business, commercial and institutional clients, as well as credit card partners, whether co-brand or private label.”

Bank Group Plans Midterm Ads, Starting With Tester, Budd
Six-figure ad buys on the way in Montana and North Carolina

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will get a helping hand from the American Bankers Association in his re-election bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The American Bankers Association said Wednesday it would weigh into midterm congressional campaigns for the first time with independent expenditure TV ads, beginning with “six-figure” buys in Montana and North Carolina.

“These ads are a concrete example of our stepped-up political engagement efforts,” American Bankers Association President Rob Nichols told hundreds of bankers at the association’s government relations conference in Washington Wednesday.