As commentators begin to read the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, they are discovering some hidden gems. The most recent discoveries:
Diversifying the Portfolio (via Carrie Budoff Brown at Politico):
Congress gives the federal government authority to terminate contracts with any financial firm that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women and minorities, forcing every kind of company from a Wall Street giant to a mom-and-pop law office to account for the composition of its work force.
Maintaining Transparency (via Ed Morrissey at HotAir):
Under a little-noticed provision of the recently passed financial-reform legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.
Controlling the Market in “Conflict metals” (via Michael Tennant at NewAmerican):
it includes language compelling American-listed “companies to certify whether their products contain minerals from rebel-controlled mines in Congo and surrounding countries.”
Since gold is on this list of “conflict metals,” conspiracy theories are beginning to blossom.
What readers will NOT find: reforms of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two government sponsored enterprises that were embroiled in the financial meltdown (see Colin Barr, Fortune). Not to worry…hearings are scheduled.
Congress, in its infinite wisdom, is prepared to provide the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission an additional $1.8 million to continue its work. Daniel Indiviglio (the Atlantic) wonders why, given that Congress leapfrogged the commission:
At a time when both sides of the aisle are worried about excessive government spending on waste, it’s hard to justify providing more funding to a commission whose purpose has become questionable, at best.
Michael Smallberg and Rick D’Amato (the Project on Government Oversight) are concerned about the burdens that the new rules and mandated studies will place on regulators:
we’re concerned that Congress may be burdening regulators and watchdogs with unnecessary studies, rather than putting hard-and-fast rules in place. Many of these studies will simply provide another avenue for the financial services industry to exert its influence on the process, and in the meantime, the studies could impose a significant burden on regulators and watchdogs that are already short on funding, staff, and resources.
Of course, one man’s burden is another’s opportunity. The new regulations this should provide a great source of employment opportunities, thereby contributing to the ongoing success of Recovery Summer. As Julie Steinberg notes:
With the passing of the financial reform bill, the SEC, CFTC and FDIC are all on the hiring warpath. The new CFPB and the beefed-up OCC are also expected to join hiring fray once they figure out staffing needs. The creation of at least 1,343 jobs across two of the agencies has already been announced (SEC and CFTC), and more hiring announcements are expected to follow.
Undoubtedly, there will be thousands of more jobs to come. Ms. Steinberg provides useful information on how to snag a job as a regulator. What is unclear is whether currently unemployed Census workers will have a suitable skill set. If they do, the last month of Recovery Summer may fulfill the administration’s promises.