Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R), in the face of a challenge from Wall Street reformer Elizabeth Warren, has been going out of his way to claim that he has been tough on the nation’s banks. Case in point, a recent ad released by his campaign prominently claims that he was “the tie-breaking vote on Wall Street reform“:
The problem with Washington is that people down there are always battling. That’s not how I operate. We’re Americans first, and I’ll work with anyone to get things done. I was the tie-breaking vote on Wall Street reform.
Brown did cross the aisle to vote with Democrats to approve the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. However, what the ad neglects to mention is the role Brown played in significantly watering the down the law, which has landed him heaps of Wall Street cash.
Brown was instrumental in weakening the Volcker Rule, which was meant to rein in risky trading with federally backed dollars by the nation’s biggest banks. He also forced Democrats to strip from the law a $19 billion bank tax. Without that provision, the Congressional Budget Office is now bizarrely claiming that the law has a “cost” of about $20 billion, a score which Republicans have seized upon as justification for their efforts to repeal the law entirely.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, employees from the securities and investment industries have given more money to Brown than those of any other industry. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, which just lost billions of dollars on the sort of trading that the Volcker Rule was originally meant to curtail, are amongst his top ten donors.