Header graphic for print
The Corporate Observer A Publication by Attorneys Devoted to Protecting Consumer Rights

Tag Archives: Congress

Federal Law (Finally) Offers Whistleblowers More Protection

Posted in Whistleblowers

It’s been thirteen years coming, but earlier this week, President Obama signed into law the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (“WPEA”), which, the White House press release says:    “Amends whistleblower protections for Federal employees by:  clarifying the scope of protected disclosures; tightening requirements for non-disclosure agreements; expanding the penalties imposed for violating whistleblower protections; and… Continue Reading

Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act: A Step in the Right Direction

Posted in Whistleblowers

I am excited to announce that earlier this week the senate voted to approve the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.  According to the Office of the Special Counsel, which will enforce the new legislation, the WPEA will increase protections for Federal whistleblowers by: Nullify court decisions that narrowed protections for government whistleblowers. Extend whistleblower protections to… Continue Reading

When One Door Closes Another Door Opens: Congratulations Senator Elizabeth Warren

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Consumer Protection

There are many great things that can be said about Senator Warren’s victory: she is the first woman to be elected U.S.  Senator from Massachusetts; she symbolizes the American dream (her father was a janitor and she worked as a waitress); and for Democrats, her victory eliminated the possibility of a Republican controlled Senate.  But… Continue Reading

Bankers and Politicians Disapprove of Dodd-Frank, but Is There Really an Alternative?

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

Following recent lawsuits, court decisions, and presidential debates, more Americans than ever are becoming familiar with the Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed in 2010 to increase the government’s ability to regulate big banks.  Many politicians and lobbyists have argued for repealing the Dodd-Frank Act, but a recent New York Times editorial poses an interesting question:… Continue Reading

CFPB “Cooperating” With Other Agencies in its Consumer Complaint Portal

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Consumer Protection

Yesterday, Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), appeared before the House Committee on Financial Services to summarize and respond to questions on the CFPB’s semi-annual report, released on July 30th and available here.  Cordray took a calm and measured approach to presenting the CFPB’s work thus far.  He highlighted the substantive… Continue Reading

Turning Independence On Its Head: Proposed Bill S. 3468 Would Paralyze the CFPB, the SEC, the EPA …

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Consumer Protection

Moderate and respected  Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) issued a press release on August 1st describing their proposed bill S. 3468, the “Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2012.”  For all intents and purposes the bill seeks to take the “independence” out of “Independent Regulatory Agencies”.  That’s right.  Who… Continue Reading

Breaking News: Regulators Knew About Libor Rate Manipulation—And Did Nothing

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

Breaking news.  The Regulators knew as far back as 2008 that the LIBOR rate was being manipulated.  This latest development in the metastasizing Libor scandal is mighty disturbing. The esteemed New York Federal Reserve Bank, on the regulatory “front line” for policing the banking industry, released documents that showed regulators in both the US and… Continue Reading

The Food and Drug Administration’s Surveillance of Employee E-mails: Intimidating Whistleblowers While Invading Employees’ Privacy

Posted in Whistleblowers

As Senator Charles E. Grassley puts it, “the FDA is discouraging whistle-blowers.” How? By monitoring their employees using a computer program called SpectorSoft. Much like parents would monitor the internet usage of their young children, the FDA is screening personal email of a select few employees who raised safety concerns about certain medical devices in… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Finally Rules on Affordable Care Act: Now You Should Actually READ the Opinion

Posted in In the Courts, Social Policy

The anticipation is over. After holding our collective breath for days, weeks, months even, we can all take a deep one now. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is constitutional. What started out as a conservative-backed long-shot lawsuit has now been resolved. Thank you, Supreme Court of the United States, for resolving this very… Continue Reading

Lawmakers Made Changes to Financial Portfolios after Talking to Officials

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Social Policy, Uncategorized

On June 24, 2012 the Washington Post reported that not one, not two, not three, but thirty-four members of Congress made changes to their personal investment portfolios during the 2008 financial meltdown, after talking to the Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson (or another senior administration official such as Tim Geithner or Ben Bernanke).  Where is the… Continue Reading

JPMorgan’s CEO Dimon Testifies Before the Senate Banking Committee: Industry Experts Know What’s Best… For the Industry

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Consumer Protection

People should be scared of testifying before Congress, especially the Senate Banking Committee. Going before such a high powered group of people to be questioned about your actions should leave you quaking in your boots and sweating bullets. This is it – when the American people, the public, will hold you accountable for whatever poor… Continue Reading

Ready, Set, Action: Why the Government Must Act Immediately Regarding Regulation of Financial Markets

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

Today government regulators from the SEC and CFTC testified before the Senate’s Banking Committee.  They came before the committee to testify about the needs of much more comprehensive regulation regarding derivative markets.  In 2010 Congress passed the Dodd-Frank reforms, which were partly aimed at wrangling in wild, out of control, derivative markets that aided the… Continue Reading

The Volcker Rule Train Refuses to be Derailed

Posted in Banks and Financial Services, Consumer Protection

­­­­All aboard and full steam ahead on the Volcker Rule Train.  Next stop: Final Draft.  ETA: September, 2012? At least that’s what an article by Ben Protess and Peter Eavis predicts, citing anonymous sources with knowledge of the issue (a journalist’s best friend).  The Dodd-Frank Bill initially set a deadline of July 2012, but there… Continue Reading

Almost Live from Roger Clemens’ Trial

Posted in In the Courts

Yesterday, I took a trip across town to the U.S. District Courthouse here in Washington, DC to see the show.  What show, you ask?  Roger Clemens—“The Rocket,” as he’s known in baseball circles—is on trial for perjury.  Yesterday was the opening act: jury selection and some evidentiary issues in the morning, supposedly followed by both… Continue Reading

A Guide Through the JOBS Act

Posted in Social Policy

In the end, the JOBS act will have its benefits and its consequences. Those who are mindful of the new risks in the investment market stand to gain from an exciting new opportunity. Unfortunately, I fear far too many consumers will fall prey to the fraudsters. As I often say, the key to consumer protection will be vigilance.

The Back Room Bail Out: Congress Provides the “Inside” Information that Drives Wall Street

Posted in Banks and Financial Services

In more recent times, Wall Street banks know that a government announcement on particular policies can drastically and immediately affect stock movement. And when you can trade rapidly through a high speed modem – that spells “ka-ching”, big money. One of the latest games takes the form of lunches, meetings, and panel discussions organized by firms who will earn a commission on trades resulting from the information provided at these soirees

Guest Post: Jeff Goldberg on Attacking Economic Growth

Posted in Weekend Edition

Will Republicans, heirs to, and in many cases participants in the Clinton impeachment effort, act to slow economic growth over the next two years? Their small government mantra comes ready-made with policies that can hurt the economy in the short term: large scale federal spending cuts, denying federal assistance to struggling states, curtailing unemployment benefits, attacking the independence of the Fed, and threatening and/or carrying out a government shut down being among the most obvious.

Guest Post: Jeff Goldberg on the Obama Tax Compromise

Posted in Weekend Edition

On Monday President Obama announced a compromise deal with Congressional Republicans over Bush era tax cuts. Republicans get a two-year extension of all of the Bush tax cuts and a generous recasting of the estate tax. The President gets thirteen months of extended unemployment benefits, a one-year reduction in payroll tax rates and the extension of other tax breaks and credits originally included in the 2009 stimulus package.