Tonight MSNBC reported that former Senator Phil Gramm, campaign co-chair for presidential hopeful John McCain, was working for for UBS AG and against proposed foreclosure legislation that would help troubled homeowners keep their homes.
Gramm officially joined the McCain campaign on March 12, 2007… but as early as October, 2006, RealClearPolitics reported that McCain was already relying on Gramm for fundraising help… McCain’s top political operative at the time saying, Gramm, quote, “obviously gives us advice on economic issues.”
At the same time he was giving that advice, federal disclosure forms reviewed by Countdown show that Gramm was simultaneously being paid by UBS to lobby the U-S Senate about the mortgage crisis… opposing government regulation… helping to kill a 2006 anti-predatory lending bill that would have tightened consumer protections, and might have mitigated the current crisis…
As recently as Dec. 31st of last year, still working for Swiss bankers specifically to help kill the “Emergency Home Ownership and Mortgage Equity Protection Act” and the “Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act,” a bill that would have let bankruptcy judges adjust mortgage terms so American families facing foreclosure could repay their loans, and keep their homes.
Not that Phil Gramm should receive all of the blame for the subprime crisis, but consider this timeline of Gramm’s financial market involvement: In 1999, Gramm was a lead sponsor of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which paved the way for commercial and investment banks to consolidate (by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act that kept commercial and investment banks apart). In 2000, UBS bought brokerage giant Paine Webber to establish its presence in the U.S., and established investment bank Warburg as it’s investment banking division. Two years later, Gramm became the vice chairman of UBS Investment Bank. On record, Gramm received about $750,000 during 2005 and 2006 to lobby Congress on behalf of UBS to relax subprime lending consumer protections.
The period from 2004 through 2006 are considered to be the loosest credit guideline years on record. UBS has since announced losses of $38 billion and signaled more write-offs may be imminent.