Musgrave Hammered Over “Financial Hypocrisy”

With the economy dominating the news today, the liberal activist group Progress Now sent out a blistering release hitting Rep. Marilyn Musgrave for her contributions from major financial interests, and a record at odds with her come-lately outrage over the proposed bailout. Says director Mike Huttner, “Musgrave misleads people when she claims she is standing up against Wall Street, her record shows that she continues to vote against more accountability for Wall Street time after time.”

Call for Marilyn “Misleading” Musgrave to immediately return finance industry contributions;

Call follows misleading comments by Musgrave

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, September 29, 2008

CONTACT: Michael Huttner

(303) 931-4547 cell

Denver:  With Rep. Marilyn Musgrave’s comments in this morning’s papers on the proposed $700 billion bailout and action on the plan reportedly stalling, ProgressNowAction called on Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave to immediately return ten of thousands of donations from the financial industry.

“We call for Marilyn “Misleading” Musgrave to end her hypocrisy, return her financial industry donations, and start voting for more accountability for the financial industry,” stated Michael Huttner, Executive Director of ProgressNowAction, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization.

This morning Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave stated that “she cannot stomach” transferring money to “Wall Street Bankers”. (Rocky Mountain News, 9/29/08)

Yet Musgrave Has Taken Over $750,000 From Finance, Insurance, And Real Estate:  During Musgrave’s congressional career, she has accepted a total of $780,317 from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector. This includes $204,185 from real estate, $167,300 from commercial banks, $113,630 from securities and investments, $75,302 from insurance interests, and $85,225 from other miscellaneous financial interests. (Center for Responsive Politics,opensecrets.org)

“Musgrave misleads people when she claims she is standing up against Wall Street, her record shows that she continues to vote against more accountability for Wall Street time after time,” stated Huttner.

# # #

(Center For Responsive Politics)

Securities & Investments: $113,630

Twice Voted Against Cracking Down On Speculators: On September 18, 2008, Musgrave voted against closing what was known as the “London loophole,” which had allowed London traders in the U.S. benchmark oil contract to skirt disclosure and speculative limits rules imposed on traders in the United States.  The bill authorized federal regulators to set limits on over-the-counter trading to ensure that energy futures prices reflect supply and demand. Foreign exchanges trading U.S. commodities would have to impose limits on the number of futures contracts an investor can own, if investor activity threatens to distort prices.  The bill passed 283 to 183.  In July 2008, Musgrave had voted against suspending the rules and passing the same bill.  (House Vote 608, HR 6604, September 18, 2008; House Vote 540, HR 6604, July 30, 2008; Marketwatch.com, July 7, 2008)

Real Estate: $204,185

Voted Against Reforming Mortgage Practices And Preventing Predatory Lending: On November 15, 2007, Musgrave voted against the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007, which would “overhaul mortgage lending laws in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage market crisis.  The bill would bring all lenders under one nationwide registry instead of being regulated state by state. It also would establish minimum standards for home loans and bar brokers from predatory lending practices.” The bill passed the House 291 to 127.  (CQ.com; House Vote 1118, HR 3915, November 15, 2007; Gannett News Service, November 19, 2007)

Voted Against Reform And Oversight For Freddie Mac And Fannie Mae: In May 2007, Musgrave voted against a bill that would have created an independent Federal Housing Finance Agency to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The bill would have allowed the new agency to put the three entities into conservatorship or receivership in the event of a financial crisis.  (House Vote 396, HR 1427, May 22, 2007)

Insurance: $75,302

Voted For Association Health Plan Legislation That Would Bypass State Requirements for Health Insurers to Cover Screening and Treatment for Breast Cancer and Autism: On June 19, 2003, Musgrave voted for a Republican-backed plan to create association health plans (AHP), which would allow for groups of small businesses to band together in larger health insurance pools across state lines. The bill passed the House 262-162, but did not receive a vote in the Senate. On May 13, 2004, Musgrave again voted for similar legislation that passed the House 252-162, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.  Musgrave voted to support the GOP-backed plan on each of these occasions. (House Vote 296, HR 660, June 19, 2003; House Vote 174, HR 4281, May 13, 2004; Congressional Quarterly Today, “House Once Again Passes Bill to Help Small Businesses Get Health Coverage,” May 13, 2004)

Commercial Banks: $167,300,  Misc. Finance: $85,225

Voted For Bankruptcy “Reform” That Benefited Corporations And Harmed Consumers:  In April 2005, Musgrave voted for passage of the bill that made it more difficult for people to declare bankruptcy.  It created a means to determine whether personal bankruptcy filers were able to repay some or all of their debts.  The means test forced more people into Chapter 13 bankruptcy with a court-ordered repayment plan.  The bill did nothing to address credit card fees, predatory lending, identity theft, or credit scams.  (CQ.com; House Vote 108, S 256, April 14, 2005)

The Bankruptcy Bill Was Written And Funded By The Banking And Credit Card Industries And Let The Worst Predatory Lenders Off The Hook:The banking, credit card and retail industries, widely credited with writing the 2005 bankruptcy bill, lobbied for it for eight years and gave $56 million in campaign contributions to members of Congress in the 2004 elections.  Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Programs Director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said of the 2005 bankruptcy bill that, “By making it harder for consumers to wipe away abusive loans in bankruptcy, this bill rewards the bottom feeders in the lending industry. These are the firms bombarding college students with high interest credit card offers, or peddling predatory mortgage loans to older Americans, or marketing payday loans at triple digit interest rates to cash strapped members of the military.”  (Washingtonpost.com, March 22, 2005; Denver Post, March 10, 2005 consumersunion.org, April 14, 2005)

Voted For Bankruptcy Reform Act: Musgrave voted in favor of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which aimed to “extend bankruptcy protection for family farmers and make more Americans pay back their debts.”  It would require debtors who are able to repay $10,000 or 25 percent of their debts over five years to file under Chapter 13, which requires a reorganization of debts under a repayment plan, instead of seeking to discharge their debts under Chapter 7.  (CQ.com; House Vote 10, S 1920, January 28, 2004; States News Service, January 30, 2004)

Bankruptcy Bill Protected Big Credit Card Corporations At Expense Of Consumers: The bankruptcy overhaul bill would make it more difficult for Americans to erase debts owed to credit card companies and other businesses. The bill set a higher standard for debtors, requiring those who have median incomes to repay their debts according to a court-approved plan.  (Las Vegas Review Journal, February 1, 2004)

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