Some Bankers Don’t Buy What Clinton Is Selling

A Morning Consult/Politico poll suggests many Republicans want an investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server reopened.
October 14, 2015 at 7:47 pm ET

Hillary Clinton is campaigning as a president who will be tough on Wall Street. But the leader of one powerful bank lobby isn’t buying it.

Camden Fine, the head of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said Clinton’s stance on regulating large Wall Street banks is pure politicking.

“She’s doing that because of Bernie. If Hillary is elected president of the United States, it’s gonna be $500 billion, and that’s fine,” Fine said in an interview with Morning Consult, referring to a policy proposed by Senate Republicans to loosen Dodd-Frank regulations. “She’s gonna all of a sudden become Mrs. Wall Street if she’s elected. So it’s all Bernie theatrics right now. She’s a Clinton, for God’s sake. What do you expect?”

Fine hits on a point that Clinton fought Tuesday night at the first Democratic presidential debate: that she is too close to Wall Street.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Clinton was being “kind of naïve” when she told bad actors on Wall Street to “cut it out.”

“In my view, Secretary Clinton, you do not — Congress does not regulate Wall Street. Wall Street regulates Congress,” Sanders said, a line that garnered big applause.

The comments from Fine, who is one of the most powerful bank lobbyists in Washington, are more evidence of the challenge Clinton faces in convincing voters that she will stick to her campaign platform regarding Wall Street if elected president.

Clinton’s plan for regulating Wall Street, released last week, didn’t embrace the far left’s favorite proposal: to bring back the Glass-Steagall Act, which would break up big banks. But it did make clear that Clinton would adhere to regulations outlined in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, particularly the increased scrutiny of large financial institutions.

Fine made the comments about Clinton during a conversation about legislation sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) that would relieve some regulatory burdens for community banks and loosen Dodd-Frank regulations. Committee Democrats oppose Shelby’s bill, but Fine suggested they could reach a compromise if the threshold for regulating “systemically important” financial institutions was dropped to $200 billion from the proposed $500 billion threshold. The current  threshold is $50 billion.

The Clinton campaign did not return an immediate request for comment.

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