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View Diary: Elizabeth Warren wants to know what think tanks are owned by Wall Street (74 comments)

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  •  But I do like "heads-I-win/tails-you-lose" nature (0+ / 0-)

    of the "do or do not influence" framing by Sen. Warren.

    My read is that she is saying shareholders (and the potential shareholding public) have a right to know:

    a) are you (JPM etc) investing corporate funds and successfully influencing think tanks to advance your interests (hence think tanks are really not unbiased evaluators of policy alternatives), or

    b) are you investing corporate funds in a way that is ineffectual in this way and so a poor use of shareholders' money (hence the banks are not acting in shareholder fiduciary interest)?

    A third possibility, c) no corporate funds go to think tanks (with an implicit 'so neener-neener to you, Sen. Warren') would be an easy answer to disclose, though unlikely -- and so a refusal to answer implies either a) or b).

    •  that's a pretty naive view of the world. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, nextstep

      it assumes that people don't come to political topics without preexisting thoughts and beliefs.

      •  I'm just pleased she is calling the question (0+ / 0-)

        and asking directly what they would claim to be in the business of doing, with regard to think tank related activities. Am not meaning to imply that people don't have pre-existing thoughts and beliefs, or that people believe think tanks are such.

        I love that Sen. Warren is bringing some refreshing perspective and pointing out, in a way that is actually rare among leaders, how bias favoring corporate interests enters the policy discourse.

    •  Em - there is nothing about supporting think tanks (0+ / 0-)

      that should set those expenses apart as a separate disclosure item. The SEC already requires the disclosure of any material expense. If the amount contributed to think tanks falls below the SEC's definition of materiality what makes it rise to the level where it should be treated differently than the thousands of other decisions made by the management and the board to spend the shareholders' money?

      Is there a single non-political reason these expenditures should be disclosed? I don't think the management of these banks will have any embarrassing moments declining to disclose their contributions to think tanks.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:32:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am merely saying it is politically well-played (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        and a substantively well-framed question -- not that there is now or should even be a legal SEC disclosure requirement along the lines of Sen. Warren's public letter.

        Whether non-disclosure is embarrassing or not to bank CEOs really depends on pressure from shareholders and the public -- and I believe Sen. Warren is effective in using her political, intellectual, and moral capital to catalyze application of that pressure.

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