07.15.10

Reaction of Senator Leahy As Senate Passes Final Wall Street Reform Bill

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, July 15) – In a vote of 60 to 39, the U.S. Senate Thursday afternoon passed and sent to the President’s desk an historic reform bill aimed at correcting Wall Street excesses that nearly set off a world economic meltdown.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a Senate conferee during the negotiations on the final bill, voted for the reform package.  “These historic reforms will set clear standards and real enforcement – including jail time for executives – to finally curb the fraud, manipulation and riotous speculation that punctured confidence in our markets and derailed our economy,” he said.

Author of most of the bill's far-reaching transparency features, as well as of its tougher criminal penalties, Leahy said, “It has seemed to me that promoting transparency should be a vital element of Wall Street reform.  Transparency is a cleansing agent for healthy markets.  Open information helps investors make sound decisions.  When information is murky, market decisions must be based on guesses or rumors that corrode trust and that encourage fraud and deception.”


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Following is a summary of Leahy-related provisions in the financial reform package:

After months of work and after breaking a string of filibusters in the process, the Senate Thursday passed the final version of the Wall Street reform bill, sending it to the President’s desk.  Thursday’s cloture vote ending the latest filibuster was 60 to 38, and the Senate later passed the bill itself in a vote of 60 to 39.  Senator Patrick Leahy was a Senate conferee in the negotiations on the final bill.  Leahy also is the author of many elements of the reform bill, including several on FOIA and transparency, and a package of new tools for better enforcement of anti-fraud laws, including tougher criminal penalties.

Leahy-led provisions in the final bill include:

Leahy’s reforms to improve enforcement of anti-fraud laws, including tougher criminal penalties and jail time for Wall Street fraud.

Leahy Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) improvements in the final bill –

Leahy amendment requiring a FOIA impact study of a FOIA exemption for whistleblower information provided to the SEC and to the CFTC, to improve public access to information and better protect American whistleblowers.

Leahy amendment requiring a FOIA impact study of a FOIA exemption for information about participants in the Federal Reserve’s emergency credit facilities, discount windows lending programs and open market programs, to improve public access to information and better protect American whistleblowers.

Leahy amendment narrowing the FOIA exemption for whistleblower information provided to the SEC and to the CFTC.

Leahy amendment clarifying that the new Consumer Protection Agency established within the Federal Reserve will be subject to FOIA.

The final bill also maintains Leahy-supported language to ensure that the Financial Services Oversight Council will be subject to FOIA.

Leahy amendment providing that the FOIA exemption for certain Federal Reserve information will not impact pending FOIA cases.

A Leahy amendment preserves meaningful antitrust oversight of financial industry.

The Leahy small-state minimum in the formula for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program – this Leahy provision will ensure Vermont at least $5 m. in this program, which helps stabilize communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonments.

The Leahy Extractive Industries Transparency Disclosure Amendment will enable investors, the American public, and citizens of resource-rich countries to know what their governments and officials are receiving from foreign companies in exchange for mining rights.

Key provisions supported by Leahy in conference, sponsored by others –

Leahy is a key Senate backer of the Durbin-Welch curbs on predatory credit card rules.

Leahy is a cosponsor of Senator Sanders’s amendment that requires an audit of the Federal Reserve’s bailout allocations.

Leahy also was a key supporter of the bill’s derivatives reforms, and for including a narrow end-user exemption to allow electric cooperatives, heating oil dealers and other Main Street firms to continue to hedge their legitimate business risks.

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