Financial Services

Wall Street Regulator Coddles Big Banks but Clobbers Small Firms
Lenient treatment from the SEC leaves misconduct unchecked

Protesters call for higher taxes on big banks in 2012. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images file photo)

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest financial services firm, has paid $28 billion to settle cases brought by federal agencies in the past 10 years, most of them related to the 2008 financial crisis.

Yet the massive fines extracted from banks like JPMorgan for their role in the Wall Street meltdown have done little to deter other types of misconduct in the decade since, and one reason is lenient treatment from the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to our analysis of SEC enforcement records with a Georgetown University law professor.

Take Five: Al Green
Texas Democrat never thought he would be the leading voice on impeachment of a president

Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, measures holidays in his district in pounds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green, 70, is the loudest voice in Congress calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. He talks to HOH about bad dating advice from a friend and who in the House he would leave a million dollars with.

Q: Compared to when you first came to Congress almost 15 years ago, what has changed?

House Budget Would Direct $302 Billion in 10-Year Spending Cuts
‘Three-step process to give to the rich and make everyone else pay for it,’ Democrats say

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., walks down the House steps after final votes of the week in the Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack’s fiscal 2019 budget resolution charts a path to balancing the budget in nine years through a combination of steep cuts in mandatory spending programs, freezing nondefense discretionary spending and banking on robust economic growth, according to a summary.

Under the draft fiscal blueprint, which will be marked up in committee Wednesday and Thursday, the deficit would be reduced by $8.1 trillion over 10 years compared to current law or policy. The budget would produce a surplus of $26 billion in 2027 if all of the assumed policies were enacted, growing to $142 billion in 2028.

Trade Groups in Turmoil in the Trump Era
Industry associations change dramatically with the times

When Tim Pawlenty announced earlier this year that he was walking away from the Financial Services Roundtable, K Street expected the group to put out a “help wanted” sign. Instead, the membership pushed for consolidation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Pamela Bailey, who heads the Grocery Manufacturers Association, announced in February that she will leave her $3 million-a-year gig, it came as no shock. After all, the lobbying group had in the past year lost some of its biggest members, including candy-maker Mars Inc. and Tyson Foods, the world’s second-largest producer of chicken, beef and pork.

The organization is undergoing a “reinvention,” in the words of its spokesman Roger Lowe, and this week tapped Geoff Freeman, who runs the American Gaming Association, as its next CEO. The group will move from its downtown Washington headquarters into a smaller space across the river in the Rosslyn section of Arlington.

Koch Groups to Spend Millions Against Trump Trade Agenda
Multi-faceted campaign includes calls for withdrawals of tarriffs

Koch-backed groups want President Donald Trump to lift tariffs on products like imported solar panels, seen here near Indianapolis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The network of political organizations associated with the Koch brothers is planning to be even more aggressive in pushing the benefits of free trade, against President Donald Trump’s more protectionist views.

According to a statement of principles accompanying Monday’s announcement of a multimillion dollar campaign, the Koch organizations will be pushing Trump to lift the new steel and aluminum tariffs on U.S. allies, as well as the previous solar panel and washing machine tariffs. They also want Trump’s administration to reverse course on a list of new tariffs to be levied on Chinese imports. 

Opinion: Historic Tax Reform is Working
Unemployment is down and wages are up

Workers at a plant in Louisville, Kentucky, install visors on a Ford Expedition SUV in 2017. More Americans are going to work because of the Texas Cut and Jobs Act, writes Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images file photo)

Unemployed, jobless, out-of-work — words that far too many of our friends and neighbors know all too well. Whether you’re a mother or father with a family to feed, or an individual working to pay off student-loans, the face of unemployment is ruthless and does not discriminate.

However, thanks to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, those who are unemployed are becoming few and far between.

Appropriations Vs. Judges: Battle for Senate Floor Time Nears
White House, senators apply pressure on summer recess

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been upfront about his wish to approve nominations and consider appropriations bills on the floor this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nominations and spending bills — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s twin top priorities this summer — are on a collision course given the scarcity of floor time.

The Kentucky Republican has made confirming conservative judges a core mission this year. He’s also told appropriators he wants the Senate to move back toward real floor debate on spending bills, including amendments, while avoiding another massive year-end pileup with another 12-bill omnibus President Donald Trump said he won’t sign.

Paul Ryan Starts Off Whirlwind Day With Coffee With House Chaplain
Speaker says controversy is behind them as busy day on Capitol Hill gets under way

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said his relationship with House Chaplain Patrick Conroy is on the mend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid a whirlwind day as Capitol Hill began digesting proposals to claw back spending and next steps on the Iran nuclear deal, Speaker Paul D. Ryan walked through policy moves Republicans want to take — and even found time to suggest a simmering conflict over the House chaplain is improving.

“Father Pat and I had a good cup of coffee this morning,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “We talked about how to improve the services going forward. We’re going to keep talking. ... I think we can ultimately make improvements so that everyone ultimately has access to the pastoral services they’re looking for.”

Hollingsworth Won‘t Face Primary — Accused of Buying 2016 Seat
Indiana freshman impresses in Washington and at home

Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-Ind., won a five-way primary in 2016 by spending lots of his own money. This year, he doesn’t even have a viable primary challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recent Tennessee transplant Trey Hollingsworth faced widespread attacks in 2016 from Republicans and Democrats, who accused him of trying to buy an Indiana congressional seat.

But he withstood those charges, winning a contested GOP primary and then the general election by double digits in the 9th District. He’s now the 12th wealthiest lawmaker in Washington, according to Roll Call’s “Wealth of Congress” analysis.

Voters Reward a Do-Something Congress. Wrong, Recent Results Show
Some midterm years are policy voids, others historic. Either way, voters tend to shake things up

Sound and fury signifying few achievements might describe what Congress has accomplished this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four years ago, the second session of the 113th Congress was widely identified as one of the most profoundly unproductive stretches at the Capitol in the run-up to a midterm election.

And yet the achievements of that divided Congress tower over the minimalist aspirations for this year held by the Republicans unilaterally in charge of the Hill. The limit on federal debt was raised in 2014, federal flood insurance premiums were rolled back, dozens of new waterway and environmental projects were authorized, a five-year farm bill was finished and, most notably, a generous deal was struck for improving veterans’ medical care.