Financial Reform Watch

Published — July 5, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

How much will Obama’s failure to stand up to Wall St. hurt his re-election chances?

JP Morgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, left, and Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, leave the White House after a 2009 meeting between bank executives and President Barack Obama. Ron Edmonds/The Associated Press

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Obama ties to Wall Street – The Obama administration is haunted by the “stunning lack of accountability for the greed and misdeeds” that triggered the 2008 financial crisis, writes Frank Rich of New York magazine. No major bank executives have gone to jail, and the Dodd-Frank reform law has done little to toughen regulation, due to understaffed agencies under attack by banking lobbyists and Congressional funding battles.

Obama’s hope for a second term in office may be at stake, Rich says, because his failure to punish Wall Street means much of the American electorate sees him favoring the financial elite over the struggling middle class. “The taxpayers bailed out the elite; now it’s the elite’s turn to return the favor. Massive cuts to the safety net combined with scant sacrifice from those at the top is wrong ethically and politically,” he writes.

Leaderless CFPB – The political impasse over leadership at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau worries some bankers, who say that without a director the agency cannot regulate payday lenders, mortgage companies, credit agencies aned other non-bank financial services companies that compete with banks.

Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor and special adviser to help set up the CFPB, seems nonplussed about her future within the organization, reports the New York Times. Warren’s meetings with more than 1,000 banking and consumer repressentatives and at least 70 members of Congress have won her the grudging respect of some bankers.

“The things she is advocating for are things we support,” Daryll Lund, president of Community Bankers of Wisconsin, told the newspaper.

Nominees soon for financial regulators – President Barack Obama plans to fill two financial regulator jobs by nominating Thomas Curry as comptroller of the currency and Mary Miller to be Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance.

Both have regulatory backgrounds: Curry serves on the board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., while Miller is now a Treasury assistant secretary for financial markets, reports the Wall Street Journal. If confirmed, Curry would replacing acting Comptroller John Walsh, a Republican described by some Democratic lawmakers as too friendly with the banks he oversees.

Miller, meanwhile, would replace Jeffrey Goldstein and leave behind her current job managing the country’s finances as it approaches the borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion.

Read more in Inequality, Opportunity and Poverty

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