We can’t let big banks get away with this.

Bad feelings over the bailouts and extortionary bank fees have driven millions of Americans into the arms of local credit unions. But instead of luring them back with better customer service, Big Banks are using their lobbying might to kill off credit unions, attempting to destroy a crucial tax exemption that credit unions need to survive.

Big Banks sucked up over a trillion dollars in the bailouts, but now they’re claiming that credit unions are the biggest problem to the national deficit. Banks say that credit unions cost the government $1.5 billion in lost tax revenue, but if the banks get their way, it will cost us over ten billion dollars each year in higher fees and rates.

Congress gets back from recess this week, and banks are about to kick off a big lobbying push for the fall. The banks are trying to kill consumer-friendly credit unions so that they can raise rates with impunity — but we aren’t going to let them.

Tell Bank of America and its cronies to stop their crusade against credit unions.

We can’t afford a future without credit unions. If we show the banks just how much this desperate gamble will backfire, the threat of bad publicity and another banking scandal will cause the banks to rethink their pricy lobbying push. Large-scale protests have forced banks to change their tune before, and once word gets out about the banks’ incredible greed, the backlash should send them packing.

Anytime that regulation is mentioned, bankers like to cry out about free-market principles. But banks use an army of lobbyists to shape legislation as they see fit. This time, they’ve gone too far in trying to take out the competition. If we all step up today, we can stop this in its tracks, and save consumer-friendly credit unions from extinction.

Tell the Big Banks to back off their bullying tactics and stop trying to kill the credit unions.

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More Information:

Banks pushing for repeal of credit unions’ federal tax exemption, Los Angeles Times, 6 July 2013
Credit unions fight back against tax repeal efforts, Miami Herald, 8 September 2013

People come from Wall Street and go into government and then leave government and go back into Wall Street. When you have this kind of revolving door, it’s not just that their interests are not well-aligned with the public; it’s that their mindset is captured by the industry from which they come. They see their interest — the interest of Wall Street — as if it were in the public interest.
—  Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on lobbying. [full interview here]
American-based corporations are giving up their U.S. citizenship and heading abroad for lower taxes and to tap into cash they’ve parked outside the U.S. (Pfizer and Omnicom, both American companies, now want to be a British because of lower rates there; Walgreens may be heading to Europe as well.) I say: Fine, but if you do so you’re no longer American citizens under the First Amendment, and have no right to lobby or bribe American legislators with campaign cash (the Supreme Court said corporations are people, but non-American citizens can’t lobby or make campaign contributions). Congress should enact legislation making this crystal clear. You agree?
— 

Robert Reich

Move out of America, you lose American lobbying rights.

'The email, which was mistakenly sent to members of the press by the current CEO of elitist pro-Israeli lobbying firm, Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM), exposed how BBC, and Sky News editors “changed their narrative” on stories in favor of the Zionist regime after meeting with BICOM representatives.

BICOM’s CEO Lorna Fitzsimons is a former Member of British Parliament (MP) from the Labour party and the known supporter of undemocratic policies of neo-Conservatives, who conspire wars across the globe.

She had told a conference in London last year that “public opinion does not influence foreign policy in Britain. Foreign policy is an elite issue”.’

Leaked docs: Blowback over ‘Stand Your Ground’ a crushing blow to ALEC.

Guardian: The Guardian has learned that by ALEC’s own reckoning the network has lost almost 400 state legislators from its membership over the past two years, as well as more than 60 corporations that form the core of its funding. In the first six months of this year it suffered a hole in its budget of more than a third of its projected income.

Instead of ensuring that everyone in America can compete in a global economy, instead of narrowing the divide between rich and poor, instead of supporting competitive free markets for American inventions that use information—instead, that is, of ensuring that America will lead the world in the information age—U.S. politicians have chosen to keep Comcast and its fellow giants happy. The government removed all rules from high-speed Internet access and allowed steep market consolidation in the hope that competition among providers would protect consumers. But that competition has not materialized; the cable industry, whose collusive practices have been largely ignored by regulators, has decisively dominated the wired marketplace and has done its best to foil municipal efforts to provide publicly owned fiber Internet access. As a result, the United States now has neither a competitive market for highspeed wired Internet access nor government oversight.
—  Susan Crawford, Captive Audience

A New Debate on Net Neutrality

It just might cost you more to watch “House of Cards.”
Since a federal court ruled last month that the Federal Communications Commission can no longer enforce its policy of network neutrality, Democratic lawmakers have been busy searching for a way to keep the rules in place through new legislation.

But with the telecommunications lobby’s history of fighting hard against earlier such bills, and the possibility that at least one technology company could change its tune on the subject, the current push will face a difficult slog.

Read more.

Lobbyists’ Honorary Gifts to Federal Officials

Companies and organizations can donate an unlimited amount of money to honor officials, sponsor their conferences, and donate to their pet charities, so long as these donations are reported to the Senate. The Sunlight Foundation analyzed these filings from 2009 and 2010 and found about $50 million in honorary gifts and meeting costs. These donations can all be viewed in the interactive display below by company making the donation or by official being honored.

New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lipton joins us today to talk about lobbying and how corporations have found new ways to influence congress and public opinion. In the interview he explains how lobbying groups have changed: 

If you look at the over all number of lobbyists who were former government officials, it’s increased tremendously over the last 15 or so years. Almost half of all lobbyists today are former government officials. It used to be a much smaller percentage…

In the last three or four years the amount of money spent on registered lobbyists and the number of lobbyists has declined, and that’s in part because there’s been such division in congress that congress is getting very little done and so the corporations aren’t spending a lot of money to try to influence congress. What it has meant recently is that it’s a much smaller circle. The former staffers and the lawmakers and the current staffers, they socialize together, they golf together, they go to each other’s weddings… it creates a very clubby atmosphere in which the people who are in it have advantages that the people outside of it don’t. It makes special interest [able] to influence the process in ways that people who don’t have those kinds of connections wish they could.

photo via mashabale