Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Katie Porter FTW

by digby

CNN profiled California congresswoman Katie Porter:

When Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election, a California law professor named Katie Porter -- who had been expecting to join Clinton's transition team to advise on housing policy -- thought she would sit the next four years out of government.

She figured she'd wind up working for Elizabeth Warren, her former Harvard law school professor, or Kamala Harris, who in 2012 appointed Porter to be California's monitor of a nationwide mortgage settlement, to run for president.

Instead, she ran for Congress in 2018, winning a Republican seat and joining the "blue wave" of Democrats taking over the House.

Porter, 45, isn't part of "The Squad" -- the four-woman group of freshman progressives of color who were attacked this week by President Donald Trump. But she's emerged as a viral star when it comes to how banks and the government treat the working poor and puncturing Trump's claims about the economy.

Her targets so far have included major Wall Street players like JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Equifax CEO Mark Begor and now-former Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan.

"I remember saying to Elizabeth Warren -- she called me a couple weeks after I got here -- and talking to her and saying, 'I don't feel like I've found my voice,'" Porter told CNN in an interview this week in her Capitol Hill office. "And then a couple weeks after that she called me after Tim Sloan testified and retired and she was like, 'You so found your voice!' She was so happy."

A spokeswoman for Warren didn't respond for a request to comment.

A lawmaker asked Carson about foreclosure properties. He thought she was talking about Oreos.
It was March when Porter grilled Sloan -- who was already facing calls from Warren and others to step down -- at a House Financial Services Committee hearing about Wells Fargo's numerous scandals over fake accounts, inappropriate mortgage fees, and charging borrowers for auto insurance they didn't need.
When it came her turn, Porter began by asking why the public should trust Sloan's promises that Wells Fargo was changing its ways. Then, she ducked under the table to bring up a poster board printed with huge text, displaying what Wells Fargo attorneys had said in court.

"Why Mr. Sloan, if you don't mind me asking, are your lawyers in federal court arguing that those exact statements I read are quote 'paradigmatic examples of non-actionable corporate puffery, on which no reliable investor could rely,'" she asked.

"I don't know why our lawyers are arguing that," Sloan responded.

Porter kept going.

It's convenient for your lawyers to deflect blame in court, and say your rebranding campaign can be ignored as hyperbolic marketing, but when then you come to Congress, you want us to take you at your word," she said. 

"And I think that's the disconnect, that's why the American public has trouble trusting Wells Fargo."
Two weeks later, Wells Fargo announced Sloan was out.

Porter has targeted top Trump administration officials, too. She whipped out a copy of the text book she wrote, "Modern Consumer Law," to quiz Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Kathy Kraninger. She then posed a hypothetical math problem: A single mom takes out a two-week $200 payday loan with an origination fee of $20, at a rate of 10%. What is the APR? One of Porter's aides handed Kraninger a calculator.

She didn't do the math, even after Porter repeated the question, asking her to ballpark the calculation.
"I understand where you're getting. At the end of the day, the issue is certainly: When you actually are able to repay that loan and whether or not you take out an additional loan," Kraninger said.

"This is not a math exercise, though. This is a policy conversation," she added.

This week, in her office, Porter said she hopes the video clip gets people thinking about the issue.

"Like, what does it mean that calculating the APR is so hard that the vast majority of us can't do it? I guess it means that those disclosures that do it for you are pretty useful," she said.

In June, Porter asked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson why the Federal Housing Administration is "lousy at servicing mortgages." When Carson said he had not had any discussions about that issue but that he would "look it up," Porter pushed further, asking him to explain the rate of foreclosures among those with mortgages backed by his department. She used the term REO -- which stands for real estate-owned, and refers to properties owned by a lender after an unsuccessful foreclosure -- an acronym she didn't expect to stump the head of the agency tasked with monitoring them.

"Do you know what an REO is?" Porter asked Carson.

Carson replied, "An Oreo?"

"No, not an Oreo," Porter said. "An R-E-O. REO."

Video of the exchange went viral and Carson attempted to laugh it off by sending the Congresswoman a box of the cookies.

Porter says her goal isn't to highlight incompetence, but instead to make esoteric topics more accessible -- like she did in the consumer finance law classes she taught at the University of California, Irvine.

"What I did as a professor is not that different than what I do in hearings," Porter said this week.

An average voter might not be able to articulate their position on payday loans, she said, "but when you start talking about that hypothetical exchange I had with Kraninger, people began to engage."

Like Warren, she believes that debates about protecting the ability to make a living, buy a home, and afford college are really conversations about the "heart and soul of America."

Her back-and-forth with Dimon, she said, was meant to highlight the issue of CEO pay disparity. Porter ran through a hypothetical Chase bank employee's budget, this time with a white board.

"She's short $567, what would you suggest she do?" asked the bank CEO.

"I don't know, I'd have to think about that," Dimon said.

Whether or not the professor-turned-congresswoman can turn her unique way of questioning government officials and Wall Street executives into making real legislative change remains to be seen. 

A bicameral bill she brought forth with Democratic Sens. Warren, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Tom Udall of New Mexico would bolster the power of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau so that it could oversee student loan servicers. Porter has also introduced legislation with Harris that would strengthen the power of state attorneys general to monitor banks.

So far none of these bills have major support from Republicans. But a bill she introduced that would raise the civil penalties assessed to security law violators was marked up by committee last week and a similar Senate bill is cosponsored by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. Two of her other bills -- one on mental health and the other addressing homecare for seniors -- have some support from across the aisle.

The Democrat could be vulnerable in her reelection bid. When she won in 2018, it was the first time her Southern California district had gone blue since its creation in 1983. That was in part because two-term incumbent Republican Mimi Walters was consistently voting in line with Trump in a district Clinton won by five percentage points.

But last month, Porter became one of the first Democrats who won Republican districts in 2018 to come out in support of impeaching Trump. The move seemed to win her some support. Her campaign brought in more than $1 million in the second quarter, out-fundraising many other vulnerable Democrats.

Porter said she is working to be a voice for families concerned about how they're going to pay the bills, something she believes Trump's candidacy also tapped into.