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Project on Government Oversight




POGO Calls for Real Accountability and Transparency in Financial Reform End Game

June 9, 2010 


Today, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) sent a letter to House and Senate conferees who will reconcile the different versions of the financial reform legislation.  In the letter, POGO offered detailed recommendations on several provisions to ensure that the final financial regulatory reform legislation incorporates the strongest features of the bills passed by the House (H.R. 4173, "The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009") and the Senate (S. 3217, "The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010").

POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian wrote:

As you put the finishing touches on this landmark legislation, we strongly urge you to consider the following recommendations in order to make our nation's financial regulatory system more effective, accountable, open, and ethical:

1) BRING FULL TRANSPARENCY TO THE CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS: Make the conference proceedings fully transparent by broadcasting them on C-SPAN and webcasting them online.

2) PROTECT FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY WHISTLEBLOWERS: Extend best-practices whistleblower protections to financial services industry employees.

3) AUDIT THE FEDERAL RESERVE: Give the Government Accountability Office the authority to conduct an ongoing audit of the Federal Reserve, and require the Fed to make key information about its emergency lending programs publicly available online.

4) CREATE A STRONG AND INDEPENDENT CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Create a truly independent, stand-alone Consumer Financial Protection Agency with full authority to issue rules and regulations to protect consumers.

5) REWARD WHISTLEBLOWERS WHO MAKE DISCLOSURES TO THE SEC AND CFTC: Expand the whistleblower bounty program at the Securities and Exchange Commission and create an identical program at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Additionally, replace secrecy provisions and FOIA exemptions with authentic whistleblower confidentiality protections.

6) EXPAND SARBANES-OXLEY WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS: Extend Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protections to employees of subsidiaries and affiliates of publicly traded companies, and of nationally recognized statistical rating organizations.

7) ADDRESS CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AT CREDIT RATING AGENCIES: Create a Credit Rating Agency Board to help address the basic conflict of interest arising from "ratings shopping."

8) STRENGTHEN THE INDEPENDENCE OF FINANCIAL AGENCY WATCHDOGS: Strengthen the independence of certain agency appointed Inspectors General (IGs), including the IGs at many financial regulatory agencies.

9) ADDRESS CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AT FEDERAL RESERVE BANKS: Amend the election process for directors at Federal Reserve Banks in order to limit the influence of the financial services industry.

Brian also stated in the letter:

Both versions of the legislation include significant proposals for protecting whistleblowers, increasing transparency, strengthening consumer protections, mitigating conflicts of interest, and making other sweeping improvements to the financial regulatory system. We urge you to incorporate the strongest of these proposals into the final version of the bill in order to foster a financial regulatory system that truly works in the best interest of taxpayers, investors, and consumers.

The letter can be found here:

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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