Occupy Chuck Schumer!

2011 October 13
by Ando Arike

9 Prospect Park West, home of Wall Street's BBF

Who is Wall Street’s favorite bootlick and water-boy in the Senate? You guessed it, Brooklyn’s very own Senator Chuck Schumer, resident of 9 Prospect Park West in Park Slope (left), an upscale building with a nice wide sidewalk suitable for dozens of tents and sleeping bags. After the stink raised last spring by he and his wife, ex-DOT commish Iris Weinshall, in their legal opposition to a bike lane on Prospect Park West, the Senator has lately been keeping a low profile—and little wonder! In the past six years, the securities and investment industry (i.e. Wall Street) has given Schumer—who sits on both the Banking and Finance Committees—more than $2.7 million in campaign contributions, for a career total of over $8.6 million. When the global economy was sputtering to a halt in December 2008, the headline of a New York Times profile of Schumer put it this way: “A Champion of Wall Street Reaps Benefits.” Yes, indeed…

Tough the Times would never print it, “Wall Street Whore Scores Big” might’ve been more accurate: Let’s see what our boy was up to back then, when the shit was hitting the fan:

WASHINGTON — As the financial crisis jolted the nation in September, Senator Charles E. Schumer was consumed. He traded telephone calls with bankers, then became one of the first officials to promote a Wall Street bailout. He spent hours in closed-door briefings and a weekend helping Congressional leaders nail down details of the $700 billion rescue package.

The next day, Mr. Schumer appeared at a breakfast fund-raiser in Midtown Manhattan for Senate Democrats. Addressing Henry R. Kravis, the buyout billionaire, and about 20 other finance industry executives, he warned that a bailout would be a hard sell on Capitol Hill. Then he offered some reassurance: The businessmen could count on the Democrats to help steer the nation through the financial turmoil.

“We are not going to be a bunch of crazy, anti-business liberals,” one executive said, summarizing Mr. Schumer’s remarks. “We are going to be effective, moderate advocates for sound economic policies, good responsible stewards you can trust.”

The message clearly resonated. The next week, executives at firms represented at the breakfast sent in more than $135,000 in campaign donations.

But that was mere chickenfeed—the Times goes on to describe Schumer’s prodigious pecuniary abilities with a strikingly provocative term:

An exceptional fund raiser — a “jackhammer,” someone who knows him says, for whom “ ‘no’ is the first step to ‘yes,’ ” — Mr. Schumer led the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the last four years, raising a record $240 million while increasing donations from Wall Street by 50 percent. That money helped the Democrats gain power in Congress, elevated Mr. Schumer’s standing in his party and increased the industry’s clout in the capital…

Donors describe the Schumer pitch as unusually aggressive: He calls repeatedly to suggest breakfast or dinner, coffee or cocktails. He enlists intermediaries to invite prospects to events and recruits several senators to tag along. And he presses for the maximum contribution — “I need you to max out,” he is known to say — then follows up by asking that a donor’s spouse and four or five friends write checks, too.

And what did the financial industry get in return from the “jackhammer”? According to the Times, Schumer “has embraced the industry’s free-market, deregulatory agenda more than almost any other Democrat in Congress, even backing some measures now blamed for contributing to the financial crisis.” He repeatedly took steps “to protect industry players from government oversight and tougher rules,” and has “also helped save financial institutions billions of dollars in higher taxes or fees.” He succeeded in “limiting efforts to regulate credit-rating agencies….sponsored legislation that cut fees paid by Wall Street firms to finance government oversight, [and] pushed to allow banks to have lower capital reserves.”

In short, Chuck Schumer had a hand in almost every one of the deregulatory gimmicks that allowed Wall Street to crash the global economy and walk away with billions in profits and bonuses.

Why not visit Senator Schumer at home one of these days and ask him about his “aggressive” approach to fundraising? As I said, there’s plenty room for dozens of tents and sleeping bags, and even better, across the street or a short walk away are Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Public Library. As an added attraction, the surrounding neighborhood is one of the most progressive and politically active in the city.

That’s 9 Prospect Park West, near the northwest corner of the park. Take the Q to 7th Avenue and Flatbush, or the 2 0r 3 to Grand Army Plaza.

"Hey, you! C'mon down!"

2 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 October 14
    MossLana30 permalink

    Make your life more simple get the home loans and all you want.

  2. 2011 October 30
    mattyc2 permalink

    Oh yeah, him and his boy Scott Brown of Massachusetts. Wall Street’s biggest hoes. This is great. I always like to hear those people on the train subways, “Oh well, the Democrats do the proceedings of the people always, we just have to find a way to get those darn Republicans out!” Yeah, right! I always feel encouraged to tell them that the worst-most successful- President- in history (our 42nd) said “We’re no longer Democrats, no such thing. It’s the Eisenhower Republicans vs. the Reagan Republicans.”

    The Wellstone’s and the Robert F. Kennedy’s of the world, well, we all know what happens to good people, don’t we?!

    Nice work, Ando! (Apologies for the last commenting, midterm week- been studying avidly.

    -Matthew

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