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January 10, 2013

Better Markets Statement on Nomination of Jack Lew for Secretary of the Treasury

“Jack Lew is by all accounts highly qualified to be Secretary of the Treasury, with decades of experience, wise counsel and an admirable commitment to public service,” said Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, a nonprofit organization that promotes the public interest in the financial markets.

“The one area of concern is whether or not he is sufficiently committed to quickly and thoroughly implementing financial reform and re-regulating Wall Street.  Doing this is vital to protect the American people from Wall Street threatening our financial system again and causing another economic calamity,” said Mr. Kelleher. 

“This concern arises from Mr. Lew’s past statements suggesting a lack of knowledge about the financial crisis and its causes.  He has appeared to minimize the undeniably critical role deregulation played in causing and accelerating the financial and economic crises.  He also worked at Citigroup, one of Wall Street’s most irresponsible banks which required almost $500 billion in bailouts to prevent its bankruptcy and causing the collapse of the entire U.S. financial system,” Mr. Kelleher said. 

“The economic wreckage the American people are still suffering from was caused by the reckless investments and trading of Citigroup and the other too-big-to-fail banks on Wall Street.  Trillions of dollars in bailouts were necessary and tens of trillions in economic damage have been caused.  That is what is at stake when we talk about financial reform,” said Mr. Kelleher.

“In addition to all the other better-known duties, the Treasury Secretary is the President’s most senior advisor responsible for ensuring that financial reform becomes a reality and that future crises are minimized or prevented.  In addition, the Treasury Secretary is the Chairman of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), the only place where all the financial regulators meet together to identify and prevent systemic risk to the U.S. financial system and economy.  Therefore, Mr. Lew’s nomination is an opportunity for him to address these concerns and to declare his unqualified commitment to putting financial reform in place quickly and thoroughly,” Mr. Kelleher concluded.

 

Better Markets

Better Markets is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes the public interest in financial reform in the domestic and global capital and commodity markets. Better Markets advocates for transparency, oversight and accountability with the goal of a stronger, safer financial system that is less prone to crisis and failure thereby eliminating or minimizing the need for more taxpayer funded bailouts.

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