Dem candidates take fight to Wall Street

Democratic candidates are using JPMorgan's $2 billion loss in campaign attacks against Wall Street, a trend liberal groups predict will escalate between now and election day.

Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) led the charge earlier this week by calling for a "new Glass-Steagall Act" that would limit what types of trades banks can be involved in. She followed that with a radio ad touting her work on Wall Street reform that said, "she told all the Wall Street banks to clean up their act."

New Mexico House candidate Eric Griego (D), a liberal netroots favorite in a tough primary race, released his own ad on Tuesday calling for "Wall Street bankers who broke the law go to jail."

ADVERTISEMENT
On Wednesday, Wisconsin state Sen. Pat Kreitlow (D), a top Democratic House recruit, held a conference call blasting Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) for supporting a repeal of the Wall Street reform law that passed Congress in 2010. He noted that Duffy has received $4,000 in contributions from JPMorgan and $260,000 from the financial service industry this election cycle.

Kreitlow said Duffy wrote to regulators pressuring them to delay implementation of the Wall Street law and called it "another example of Congressman Duffy choosing to stand with special interests on Wall Street over the people of Wisconsin."

Spokesmen for two liberal organizations predicted the issue would stay front and center, both in Democratic primaries and the general election.

"I think it's likely to stay an issue through November, when you have [Romney], who made his money in private equity and wants to repeal Dodd-Frank [the Wall Street reform law], and JPMorgan losing $2 billion on a risky trade even though they were supposedly a well-run bank," said MoveOn.org's Daniel Mintz. "I think this is likely to pop up a bunch."

Neil Sroka of the Progressive Campaign Change Committee agreed. 

"This is an opportunity for progressive candidates to really stand out from the crowd — they're calling for the accountability that people want," he said. "People are sick and tired of Wall Street playing games with the economy, and they want to support people like Eric Griego and Elizabeth Warren who are really pushing hard on this issue."

The attacks stand in contrast to President Obama and other elected Democrats, who have hedged on the issue. When asked about what the JPMorgan losses meant earlier this week, Obama was careful not to attack Wall Street.

"JPMorgan is one of the best-managed banks there is. Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got and they still lost $2 billion," Obama said on Tuesday, without criticizing Dimon for fighting tooth-and-nail against the Wall Street reform law.

Elected Democrats are in a tougher position because many of them voted to bail out Wall Street four years ago or were involved in passing the Wall Street reform law, which many liberals feel did not go far enough.But Democratic candidates don't have those constraints — and more may look to capitalize on public discontent on the issue.