What a lovely Christmas present from Zach Carter (discussed here Saturday).
Writing in The Nation, the banking reporter for SNL Financial News describes the wreckage left behind by John Dugan, the Comptroller of the Currency and the primary regulator for most of the US banking industry. To say that Dugan is the lackey of the largest banks is really an understatement. The former lobbyist and Treasury official has been the defacto advocate for the largest dealer banks through the crisis, opposing regulatory reform initiatives on Capitol Hill and even from the FDIC, every step of the way.
Over the course of nearly a quarter-century, Dugan has proved himself a staunch ally of the American financial elite as a Senate staffer (1985-89), a Treasury official (1989-93) and a lobbyist (1993-2005), building a career that culminated in 2005 when George W. Bush appointed him comptroller of the currency. When the financial system finally succumbed to its own excesses in September 2008, Dugan’s fingerprints were all over the economic wreckage, but almost nobody noticed.
Most recently, Dugan opposed the FDIC’s issuance of a preliminary rule regarding securitizations, adding to his list of accomplishments. Dugan has consistently sided with the narrow interests of the largest banks and against the broader public interest during his tenure in Washington. If you were to pick one Washington official who was most responsible for the problems in the US banking system over the past cycle, it is most definitely John Dugan.
The issue for Democrats and members of the American Left raised by this article in The Nation is why does Barack Obama allow this situation to continue one day longer? The continuance of Dugan at OCC and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at Treasury illustrates how feeble the White House remains when it comes to financial services policy.
Or maybe the problem is one of conflict. Like Larry Summer’s derivatives toxic waste dump inside Harvard’s endowment fund?
And let’s not forget Rahm Emmanuel’s proud legacy as a director of Freddie Mac. Maybe the Obama White House just can’t go there when it comes to financial anything.