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McCain's "Principled Conservative" Co-Chairman: Phil Gramm

By The Reverend Published: June 2, 2008

On March 12, 2007, the presidential campaign of John Sidney McCain III announced that Phil Gramm would serve as a general co-chairman.

At the time, McCain said this about Gramm...

"Phil is a principled conservative committed to real reform in government," said Senator McCain. "His active participation in my campaign makes a strong statement about our intention to reduce spending and make the tax cuts permanent."Link

The former Senator from Texas, Gramm, was primarily responsible for this...

In 1999, Gramm successfully undid the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, removing the decades-old wall between commercial banking, which was heavily regulated, and investment banking, which was not. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act did not extend significant new regulation to investment banking. Link

Then Gramm, a person McCain calls a "principled conservative", went to work for the very industry he helped to deregulate.....

A year after the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed the old regulations, Swiss Bank UBS gobbled up brokerage house Paine Weber. Two years later, Gramm settled in as a vice chairman of UBS’s new investment banking arm.

Later, he became a major player in its government affairs operation. According to federal lobbying disclosure records, Gramm lobbied Congress, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department about banking and mortgage issues in 2005 and 2006.

During those years, the mortgage industry pressed Congress to roll back strong state rules that sought to stem the rise of predatory tactics used by lenders and brokers to place homeowners in high-cost mortgages.

For his work, Gramm and two other lobbyists collected $750,000 in fees from UBS’s American subsidiary.Link

...lobbying disclosure forms, filed by the giant Swiss bank UBS, list McCain’s campaign co-chair, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, as a lobbyist dealing specifically with legislation regarding the mortgage crisis as recently as Dec. 31, 2007.

Gramm joined the bank in 2002 and had registered as a lobbyist by 2004. UBS filed paperwork deregistering Gramm on April 18 of this year. Gramm continues to serve as a UBS vice chairman. Link

The "principled conservative", however, as recently as March 26, 2008, before deregistering as a UBS lobbyist yet still remaining as a vice-chairman there, was advising Mr. McCain about the morgage crisis...

“Sen. Gramm was one of dozens of folks whom Sen. McCain has consulted on the housing issue,..." said McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers. "They've been friends for years, and he values Sen. Gramm's advice." Link

If all this was an anomaly....you know, a one-off,....that would be one thing....but sadly, there's a long history with McCain's co-chairman....the "principled conservative" "advice" McCain seeks seems to run in the Gramm family...

After Gramm passed a law easing regulation of energy-commodity trading, California experienced a sharp run-up in energy costs.

In December 2000 Mr. Gramm was one of the ringleaders who engineered the stealthlike approval of a bill that exempted energy commodity trading from government regulation and public disclosure.

She, Mrs. Phil Gramm, headed the presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief in the Reagan administration. And she was chairwoman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 1988 until 1993.

In her final days with the commission she helped push through a ruling that exempted many energy futures contracts from regulation, a move that had been sought by Enron. Five weeks later, after resigning from the commission, Wendy Gramm was appointed to Enron's board of directors. Link

And just in case folks have forgotten about what "principled conservatism" looks like, you know, in real life.....excerpts from those great capitalist traders at Enron....

"All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?" "Yeah, grandma Millie, man" "Yeah, now she wants her f------g money back for all the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her a------ for f------g $250 a megawatt hour." Link

It seems like American voters have decided that the economy will be the number one concern this November. The GOP candidate, John McCain, is taking economic advice from one of his close friends and current campaign co-chairman, Phil Gramm. Phil Gramm, and his wife, are at the very least, partially responsible for the mess the economy is now in....and yet, the former Texas Senator is still closely advising McCain.

Methinks this is a serious problem.

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