White House downplays lack of CEOs at bill signing for Wall St. reform

The White House sought to rebuff criticism that key Wall Street executives had been excluded Wednesday from President Obama’s bill signing for his financial reform legislation. 

The administration publicly pushed back against a Washington Post story this morning noting that among the 400 people invited to this morning’s bill signing, absent from the list were the CEOs of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan, among others.

“This is a fake controversy. The CEO’s who opposed reform never expected to be invited to the bill signing and not a single one has complained to the Administration,” Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki wrote on the White House blog. “In fact Administration officials have been in touch with many of the same CEOs about a number of issues over the last few days and this issue has not even registered.”

Among those who were invited are 15 key lawmakers and some ordinary citizens, whose benefits due to the bill will be highlighted in the president’s remarks. Other expected attendees are a number of academics, state officials and representatives from consumer groups. The White House did not release the full list of attendees. 

The Post story highlighted the lack of invitations for Wall Street titans, who’d opposed the new legislation strongly, despite many of them having supported Obama to some degree during his presidential campaign and his first year in office. 

Psaki was quoted in the story as joking that companies who spent millions to oppose the legislation “were not at the top of our list for an invitation.”

On Wednesday, Psaki instead noted that many of the CEOs were busy meeting with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is in New York on Wednesday.

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