As a part of the Republican victory in Congress following November’s election, a number of long-time Democratic party lawmakers lost their seats, the victims of a national wave of discontent fed by a poor economy. From Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), who served four terms, to the defeat of 36-year congressional veteran Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), the election saw the departure of a number of Congress’s most senior members.
One member who lost was Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), who had served in the House of Representatives since 1985. In an interview with the Scraton Times, Kanjorski explained that while he could have “easily walked away” from Congress ealier and “taken a job on Wall Street for millions” instead of serving for as long as he did, he wanted to stay to continue to pass progressive legislation. He was unrepentant about his efforts to strongly advocate for tougher financial reforms — the congressman authored and passed an amendment that would give federal regulators the power to dismantle “too big to fail” financial institutions — and said he considered himself the “greatest scourge” of the “too-big-to-fail banks.” He continued, “There were guys like [JP Morgan CEO] Jamie Dimon, they’ll never forget me…He’s probably considered the most powerful banker in the world and I took his ass on and I defeated him“:
“It’s no heroic thing, but I could have just as easily walked away. I could have taken a job on Wall Street for millions,” said the congressman who wrote a good portion of the Dodd-Frank financial services reform bill, particularly the part addressing too-big-to-fail banks. “I was their greatest scourge, for Christ’s sake.” Addressing his specific battle grappling with the titans of the Street, Kajorski thumped his chest, insisting, “I was the guy that stuck my thumbs in all their eyes.
“There were guys like Jamie Dimon, they’ll never forget me…He’s probably considered the most powerful banker in the world and I took his ass on and I defeated him. Not openly, nobody in the public knew…He tried to lead a cause to stop the Kanjorski amendment and the Volcker rule of incredible portions.”
When asked what he plans to do now that he is no longer a member of Congress, Kanjorski explained that he has “no need or desire to make a lot of money.” Rather, he thinks he could “be very effective in developing a support base to make sure we implement the (Wall Street) reform bill. I could spend some time writing on that, speaking on that and testifying on it.” Kanjorski stands in stark contrast to a number of other retiring and ousted Democrats, like former Rep. Artur Davis (AL), who will be joining a Washington, D.C.-based law firm specializing in defending white collar criminals.