The Obama administration has made clear that it’s setting its sights on another rush job, propaganda exercise to advancing the ruling class: financial regulatory reform. While there is no question that some smart and independent regulation is needed for Wall Street, giving more spending and power to a government that already has a too-big-to-fail mentality will only put lawmakers in the driver’s seat and U.S. taxpayers on the hook.
At the helm of this ship of legislative action in the House is Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, a man who already has a cloud of unanswered questions hanging over his head about his involvement in the Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac fiasco, and the Troubled Asset Relief Fund.
Why should he be allowed to play a key role in determining how banks will operate in the future?
According to Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, Frank lobbied regulators to shell out a $12 million TARP grant for a hometown bank located in Boston.
They reported that "on November 25, 2008, following Frank’s intervention, the Treasury Department awarded $12,063,000 in bailout funds to OneUnited.”
Frank, a genius with numbers, hasn’t been too sharp when it comes to memory. The Wall Street Journal reported that Frank publicly admitted he spoke to a “federal regulator” regarding OneUnited, but he “didn’t remember which federal regulator he spoke with.”
As it turns out, Frank hadn’t been chatting up just any regulator. In e-mails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, he was working over the country’s regulator-in-chief, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.
And Frank isn't the only lawmaker who is failing to come clean.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) also pressured the Feds in pursuit of a grant for the same bank, OneUnited. Her husband Sidney Williams, was a board member of OneUnited, a financial institution that was hardly worthy of any government intervention.
TARP was crafted to assist healthy banks who maintained above board practices. OneUnited was neither of those things. It was “under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives' use.”
Yes, you read that correctly. A Porsche. Bank officials used taxpayer money to buy themselves a flashy sports car. One that many of us will never own.
If this is just one incident related to the misuse of TARP funds, imagine the abuse associated with the stimulus money and beyond. Where is the accountability? The transparency? Where's the most ethical Congress ever that we were all promised?
Because leftist members of Congress are often protected by a complacent and selectively responsible media, the story has received little coverage. Until Speaker Pelosi begins to feel pressure to act on the unethical actions my members of her caucus, she’ll continue to give a close political ally the cover he needs to keep his chairmanship of the Financial Services Committee rather than strip him of his power – much like she did with Reps. William Jefferson and Charlie Rangel until the crescendo of questions became so unbearable she was forced to take action.
When it comes to financial reform, before we know where we’re going, we need to find out where we’ve been. The government was intimately involved in the meltdown of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and Barney Frank was at the center of the scandal. Now, he’s at the center of another ethical misstep with seemingly no repercussions as he begins to help orchestrate the most sweeping financial legislation in decades.
If we expect real reform on Wall Street, it needs to start with those who are supposed to be keeping their eye on it. At the very least Frank needs to step down as Financial Services chairman. If he’s unwilling to give us answers about our money, he shouldn’t be tasked with helping to regulate it. In other words, he's too-much-of-a-failure-to-be-this-big.
Andrea Tantaros is a conservative columnist and FoxNews.com contributor. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros.
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Andrea Tantaros currently serves as co-host of Fox News Channel's The Five (weekdays 5-6 PM/ET). She joined the network as a contributor in 2010. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros or on Facebook.com/andreatantaros.