Former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich today slammed an anti-financial reform group that is using his name and image in a new television ad for “cynically and purposefully distorting what I said.”
As we noted earlier, the group, Stop Too Big To Fail, today announced new ads in three states calling for senators to vote against financial reform. The ad at one point flashes Reich’s picture and the female narrator says, “Even President Clinton’s secretary of labor said [of the Dodd bill], ‘it preserves the possibility that the Fed could launch another bank bailout.’”
Reich is having none of it.
“As I’ve repeatedly noted, the Dodd bill’s liquidation fund is not a bailout fund. The quote they took out of context was my argument that because the Dodd bill fails to limit the size of the biggest banks, the Fed would have to bail them out if several get into trouble at the same time — as the big banks did when the housing bubble burst,” Reich said in an email to TPMmuckraker, adding: “Those who sponsor this ad — Wall Street and its supporters who want to torpedo the Dodd bill — would never support limiting the size of the big banks.”
Stop Too Big To Fail has declined to say who is putting up the money for its ads (the first round buy last week was for $1.6 million). But it is using an ad agency with conservative bona fides and is linked to astroturf specialists DCI Group.
Last week, the group pulled down from its website the name and image of another progressive economist, Simon Johnson, after he realized what the group was doing and demanded it stop.
In response to Reich’s comments, Stop Too Big To Fail Co-Founder Sam Zamarripa insisted the group’s views really are in line with what Reich believes:
“We … agree with Secretary Reich’s previously stated observations that this bill doesn’t go far enough, and that it will lead to more bailouts,” he wrote in an email to TPMmuckraker. “Congress needs to have the courage to break up banks which are too big to fail, impose limits on leverage and force derivatives trading into an open, transparent market. We would support this.”
More on the new ad and what Reich really said here.