Tag Archives: WashPIRG

WashPIRG Supports Creation of Consumer Financial Protection Agency

WashPIRG Explains “Game-Changer” Proposal To Reinstate Federal Financial Laws As Pro-Consumer Floor – Letter Shows Bankers Prefer “Failed Business As Usual System” —

Seattle, WA, July, 27 2009 – At the epicenter of the worldwide financial collapse was a lack of consumer protection that can best be remedied by establishing a “game-changer agency with only one job, protecting consumers” while simultaneously reinstating federal law as a floor not a ceiling of protection, according to WashPIRG’s State Advocate Blair Anundson.

At a tele-news-conference today, Mr. Anundson and WashPIRG’s Federal Consumer Program Director, Ed Mierzwinski, explained that the Congressional proposal to establish a Consumer Financial Protection Agency would also allow state attorneys general to once again vigorously defend the public against unfair financial practices. That authority had been drastically restricted by federal agency preemption rulings prior to the crisis.

“Since the financial crisis peaked in 2008, banks have been bailed out with billions of dollars of taxpayer funds but haven’t increased lending and haven’t stopped increasing unfair credit card and deposit account fees on consumers and small businesses,” said Anundson. “The solution is to create the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, a game-changer agency with only one job, protecting consumers.”

“Banks and big corporations are mounting a massive campaign to preserve the failed business as usual financial system,” added Mierzwinski. “One of the top bank lobbyists says their goal is nothing less than “to kill” the new consumer agency. They don’t have the money to make loans, but they do seem to have enough money to lobby against what could be the biggest reform since deposit insurance in the 1930s.”

The proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency is based on an idea from Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren. If enacted, it would consolidate all consumer protection activities involving over 20 laws and at least 7 agencies into one agency only responsible for consumer protection, while also redefining federal law as a floor not ceiling of protection and re-establishing the right of state attorneys general to enforce federal financial laws.

“We have an agency to keep toasters from exploding, but we don’t have one to keep credit cards and mortgages from exploding,” concluded Anundson.


WashPIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy group.
For more information, go to www.washpirg.org.

WashPIRG, the federation of state PIRGs, and U.S. PIRG are founding members of Americans for Financial Reform (ourfinancialsecurity.org) a 200-group strong coalition of the nation’s leading consumer, civil rights, labor, community and investor protection groups.

The above is a press release issued by WashPIRG yesterday.

see also:

Politico “Barack Obama to create Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Seeking Alpha “Big Finance vs Consumer Protection: Partisan Sheds Some Light

Do you want to see a Consumer Financial Protection Agency? If so then write to your Congressional Representative and to your Senators. Washington State’s two Senators are Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. Click on the links to send them an e-mail.

New Report: Modernizing Our Voter Registration System Could Eliminate Millions in Wasteful Spending

If there’s one lesson we all learned in the last few elections, it’s that their success or failure is dependent on the resources and skills of our local and state-level election officials.

The 2008 elections were commendable in many ways, for example, the 3.4 million more young voters who participated last fall than in 2004. But there are enormous obstacles and cost inefficiencies in our current voter registration system, and these inefficiencies cost taxpayers millions and make it harder for election officials to do their jobs.

WashPIRG’s new report, “Saving Dollars, Saving Democracy,”, shows that in only the 100 counties we surveyed over $33,467,910.00 of public money was spent on simple registration implementation and error-correction issues in 2008. The study was an average aggregate costs survey of small, mid-size, and large counties (in terms of population). For example, areas with average populations, like Grays Harbor County, spend around $250,000 on implementing our out-of-date registration system. In more population dense areas like Los Angeles County the delay in entering massive amounts of registration forms into the database system leads to an expense of over $56,000 in every major countywide election just to mail supplemental voter rosters to poll inspectors overnight. Even in counties with smaller cities, like Thurston County, implementation costs are estimated to be around the $1 million mark.

Election officials from coast to coast have similar stories of being forced to apply inefficient, expensive band-aids in order to effectively administer the registration system

If we modernized our system by creating a more streamlined and automatic system linking existing databases with the state voter rolls we could save significant resources at the local level. Election officials could use their budget for activities that promote our democracy, such as election education, as well as on more effectively administering Election Day.

“Saving Dollars, Saving Democracy” recommends implementing an automatic registration system federally, so that the majority of the cost burden currently facing election officials due to registration could be eliminated.