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Pete King (New York 02)

Pete King (New York 02)

Rep. Pete King (NY-02) has done many a favor for Wall Street
over the course of his 13 terms in Congress. On the House Financial Services
Committee, King has voted again and again for legislation that would help banks
and financial companies gamble with taxpayer-backed funds, stick customers with
hidden fees and “gotcha” clauses, and enrich themselves at the expense of the
country as a whole.

And banks and financial companies have in turn been major
funders of Rep. King’s political career.


In all, Pete King has taken over $3 million[1] from individuals and PACs associated with banks, payday lenders, and other financial and real estate interests – more than from any other sector of the economy.

Rep. King’s top corporate benefactors since 1991
include the National Association of Realtors ($89,400), the American Bankers
Association ($88,250), JPMorgan Chase ($84,432), Morgan Stanley ($66,250),
Deloitte LLP ($64,750), and Goldman Sachs (63,810). During the current election cycle, he has
collected contributions from Winthrop Financial Associates ($16,200), Goldman
Sachs ($11,000), HJ Kalikow & Co. ($10,800), Ranierei & Co. ($10,800),
the Credit Union National Association ($10,000), Deloitte LLP ($10,000), the
National Association of Realtors ($9,000), and many others.


In 2017 and 2018, Americans for Financial Reform (a coalition of more than 200 consumer and other public-interest groups) tracked 38 House floor votes and 36 Financial Services Committee votes – 74 votes altogether – on measures making it easier for Wall Street banks and other financial companies to make reckless bets or take unfair advantage of consumers, investors, or workers, or endanger the safety and stability of the overall financial system and the economy. Rep. Pete King voted for 66 out of 74, including proposals to:

●  Sharply reduce the funding, powers, and
political independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, making it
easier for mortgage lenders, payday lenders, and credit card companies, etc. to
stick customers with hidden fees and unexpected charges (HR 10, voted

●  Repeal the “Volcker Rule,” which bars the big
Wall Street banks from playing reckless games with insured deposits and other
taxpayer-subsidized funds (HR 10, voted

●  Roll back consumer credit safeguards for
mobile (or manufactured) homes, making it easier to steer borrowers into
high-cost loans with excessive fees and interest – in an industry that has long
been rife with such abuses (HR 1699, voted

●  Weaken oversight of the Big 3 credit ratings
agencies, Moody’s, Standard & Poors, and Fitch, which made huge sums of
money by slapping triple-A ratings on toxic mortgage-backed securities in the
run-up to the financial crisis (HR 3911, voted

●  Give Wall Street banks and other large
financial companies a new way to undo rules they dislike, by requiring the
explicit approval of both houses of Congress before any major regulation takes
effect (HR 26voted for); and

●  Strip consumers of the right to band together
and take banks and other financial companies to court over systematic
wrongdoing, leaving people with no recourse except to submit an individual
complaint to a corporate-friendly private arbitration firm. This is a system
that effectively operates as a corporate Get out of Jail Free Card, since the
damage to any one victim of financial industry fraud and trickery is rarely
large enough to justify the cost of legal action, and arbitration proceedings
are usually kept under wraps. (HJ Resolution 111, voted for)

In May 2018, King’s support helped win passage of the
biggest rollback of banking regulations since the financial crisis. Backers
of this legislation (S 2155) described it as an effort to
provide regulatory relief for small “community banks”; but that’s a well-honed
Wall Street marketing pitch for bills whose chief beneficiaries, as a rule, are
much larger and less sympathetic institutions. In fact, the core provision of
S 2155 freed a group of 25 banks with $50-$250 billion in assets from the
heightened oversight put in place after the 2008-09 financial crisis. Far from
protecting community banks, S 2155 will spur increased bank consolidation
by letting a $50 billion institution grow up to five times bigger without
attracting any extra regulatory scrutiny – a point acknowledged by industry insiders
as soon as the bill passed. Its other unadvertised features included a
significant weakening of safeguards against predatory or racially discriminatory
lending, especially in rural areas of the country. Senator Elizabeth Warren
dubbed it The “Bank Lobbyist Act.”

All these votes occurred during the
115th Congress, which has done next to
nothing about the serious problems facing ordinary Americans (health care,
housing, etc.). If you’re wondering how the same elected body could somehow
manage to act on item after item from Wall Street’s legislative wish list, the
answer lies with Pete King and the far too many other lawmakers like him who
have built their congressional lives around the pursuit of campaign donations
from big banks, securities firms, payday lenders, and other giant financial

When it comes to the issues that
Wall Street banks and other financial firms care about, King has ignored not
only the interests but the will of the people he is sworn to represent. Ten
years after the financial crisis, the great majority of voters – across lines
of geography and political party – voice their support for existing regulations
and say they would like to see the rules governing Wall Street and the
financial world made tougher. Yet in all the actions described
here, Rep. King has not once taken a stand for stronger rather than weaker
regulation of banks, lenders, and other financial entities.

[1] On 9/17/18, showed Rep.
King with a total of $3,012,171 in FIRE sector contributions, based on data
reported to the Federal Elections Commission and compiled by the Center for
Responsive Politics. Like other dollar amounts cited here, this number can be
updated by clicking the link to CRP’s website.

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