June 2, 2014 8:45 am

Revealed: How the CBC Leverages Blackness to Work as a Tool for Wall Street


by Yvette Carnell

For years in many black political circles, there has been an ongoing discussion over the need for a firm that lobbies on behalf of black interests. As it turns out, however, the Congressional Black Caucus has been producing effective lobbyists for decades, it’s just that they’re lobbying against the interest of black people instead of in favor of those interests.

A bombshell Huffington Post report published last week details the sheer cravenness and hypocrisy of many CBC members. As the report thoroughly lays out, even though Wall St. systematically targets African-Americans with its mortgage fraud schemes, members of the CBC have been actively doing Wall Street’s bidding, even working to upend legislation intended to rein in the worst offenses of the greediest banks.

From the Huffington Post:

The GOP isn’t shy about its antipathy to government regulations, and a pro-business coalition known as the New Democrats has come to its aid. But there is also a third, lesser-known faction: the Congressional Black Caucus. Moore, along with colleagues such as New York’s Gregory Meeks, Georgia’s David Scott, Missouri’s Lacy Clay and Alabama’s Terri Sewell, has pushed for a host of seemingly arcane measures that would undermine Dodd-Frank’s rules on financial derivatives, the complex contracts at the heart of the 2008 meltdown. She is the co-sponsor of multiple measures that would once again allow Wall Street to shift its riskiest transactions out of the view of regulators.

The report details how a group of former CBC staffers turned lobbyists formed an informal group called the Washington Government Relations Group. Instead of the group using its formidable political knowledge to further the interests of black people, they chose instead to use their talent and connections to lobby the CBC on behalf of Wall Street. The lobbying industry even has a term for these black lobbyists: CBC specialists.

Since the CBC tends to vote as a bloc, and, as CBC head Marcia Fudge admits, most of them don’t know much about financial services law and usually defer to CBC members on the financial services panel, the CBC is an easy mark for sophisticated lobbyists. It’s also easy because, as HuffPost notes, white lawmakers aren’t quick to criticize the CBC. A lobbyist explained to HuffPost how it works:

“We go right to the CBC because they are open-minded and they often vote as a bloc,” he says, asking for anonymity because he frequently relies on CBC members for support on deregulation bills. “And the professional left is scared of them. Every white liberal — media, politician, advocacy group — knows better than f*cking with a CBC member.”

Since joining forces with Wall Street, several CBC members have been siding with Republicans on financial issues and having a devastating impact on financial reform:

In February 2013, Moore and Fudge joined three Republicans to introduce HR 677, a bill that would allow corporate conglomerates to trade derivatives among their myriad subsidiaries without following Dodd-Frank’s trading rules. The bill infuriated financial reform watchdogs, who say it makes it much harder for regulators to see risks accumulating in the system and could facilitate international tax-dodging. Moore’s measure probably won’t ever get a vote on the House floor, but it doesn’t need to. After proposing a relatively robust rule on the topic, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission switched course last year and finalized a regulation that adheres closely to Moore’s language.

Members of the CBC have also been sneekily sending letters to regulators “championing” the rights of Wall St. banks. Of course, when these same CBC members give press conferences championing social justice, they don’t mention that they themselves are already in the pockets of Wall St. That doesn’t sell well when you’re on MSNBC or the Tom Joyner Show.

In another example, CBC members waged war against the Volcker rule in 2012, a rule popular among mainstream and left of center liberals that “bans banks that receive taxpayer perks from making speculative trades for their own accounts.” Meeks, Scott, Sewell, and Clay were all onboard with killing the rule. Moore, who has also been a key member in supporting the banking industry, has a chief of staff who is onboard with the financial services lobby as well as a former staffer who is in the pocket of the industry as well.

At one point, Rep. Maxine Waters reportedly had a contentious argument with Rep. Alcee Hastings over his selling out to big money interests. During the disagreement, Hastings allegedly admitted he’d sold out, just for a higher price than Waters implied:

What was more embarrassing than selling out, Waters told her assembled colleagues, was selling out cheap to nickel-and-dime scammers like the for-profit college industry. If you’re going to sell your soul, she admonished, have some self-respect and sell high. (Hastings didn’t dispute the conflict, but he did dispute Waters’ point. “It would be a mistaken premise,” he says, smiling. “There are a hell of a lot of for-profit schools.”)

Regarding financial reform, Waters has been fighting for the soul of the CBC.

“It’s critically important that we understand the significance of that reform, that we send the message that we’re about protecting our taxpayers and investors, ” said Waters.

Waters may be in for the fight of her life.



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  • Furshah Bills says:

    Ms. Carnell, I’ve been critical of some of your articles in the past, but this article is excellent. Please keep us updated.

  • DuaneAlford says:

    They’re no better than Republicans, their only objective is financial enrichment

  • divalocity says:

    Are many of you now opening up your eyes to these people? I’ve been awake for a mighty long time to their hypocrisy and self-service. Their actions have been speaking volumes just as long as many of them have been in office, but folks would rather support them anyway out of sheer, fake solidarity.  Vote them out of office and hopefully we can find those who will put the needs of the people first instead of themselves, but I highly doubt it.

  • Watchful says:

    They all might as well be Boulé members, that is, if they aren’t already.

  • ROBERT@atx says:

    WHAT else explains these peoples behavior over the last 30- 40 years,

    JUST think about what has happened to black AMERICA over these years a fake drug war where it’s the government itself that’s responsible for much of the dope on the streets and then the prison industry was wrapped around our heads in response to these very same drugs.

    AND now we’re dealing with a flood of illegal aliens and our representatives are not coming to our defense but to the people who broke the law and who cannot vote .

    WE’VE been fools to long my people it’s time to clean house.

  • dlyt42 says:

    Seriously not surprised at all. Corporations run this government masquerading as a democracy , when it’s really Fascism.

  • divalocity says:

    ROBERT@atx It most certainly is. If they have been in office for over 20 years and your community or district has not changed, why keep voting for them to stay in office? I’ve been saying this ever since I returned back to this country 14 years ago. Vote them out of office. They’ve racked up millions of dollars and have their benefits to live off for the rest of their lives while their constituents only have their divisive rhetoric to go on. We’ve got to wake the people from their somber and state of denial.

  • ROBERT@atx says:


    I’M one of those people that you speak of that come from district whose representative has been there over 30 years I’M from so.central LA; and although I don’t live there now I resided in MAXINE WATERS district who is mentioned in this article.

    I came up during the drug wars of LA and I know that MAXINE WATERS knows that our government is responsible for most of the drugs that enter this country; she has made speeches on the subject and even testified before hearings.

    MY problem is that the drug business has only gotten larger since that time and she no longer speaks on the subject so there has to be some sort of complicity with her as well as the CBC  because what type of people would stay silent while there  very own communities are being poisoned.

    IF you’re not familiar with the story read the links below and see what went down in LA.




  • bdixon55 says:

    Excellent article… and due credit to the HuffPo reporters who obtained the trove of correspondence upon which it’s based.  “Leveraging” the hard won credibility of the historic Freedom movement on behalf of their corporate sponsors has been the standard operating procedure of large sections of our black political class for a good while now.  
    Black politicians and fixers engineered the downfall of Detroit, the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans, and the demolition and dispersal of public housing communities across the country.  
    Once upon a time it was easier to believe they represented us in the halls of power.  Nowadays they clearly are the black faces of that power.
    Bruce Dixon

  • Sherburn says:

    Good article and not the least bit surprising…(I don’t have much else to add outside of what’s already been said…)

  • thinkiqnc says:

    DuaneAlford Here, right here along; this answer, along with the like is the reason Black people are
    at the bottom of the social and economic ladder. The overwhelming majority
    think as well as vote this backassward way: Black leaders sell Black people
    like chattel and here comes “blame the Republicans too.” You can’t name one
    thing in the history of the Republican Party that come close to this. These
    Black Democrats did this with the blessings of the Democratic Party and since
    you don’t like Republicans, I guess you’re be putting them back in office. Black
    people continued to vote for them even after this full page story in the NY
    Times in 2009. Anyone who blames others for problems they created deserves to
    be mistreated and ignored.

  • Watchful says:


    It’s been my observation that the overwhelming majority of black voters r terribly naïve politically.

  • Watchful says:


    VERY well said.

  • Watchful says:


    Thx, Mr.Dixon, for all ur fine work at BAR, along with Glen Ford, Margaret Kimberly, Nellie Bailey, et al.  It’s VERY much appreciated. Will be checking out today’s posts.

  • divalocity says:

    Thanks for the links, but I’m quite familiar with Maxine Waters. Unfortunately, there are some who don’t think critically enough to see that they are being used for political and monetary gain. They haven’t noticed that their beloved elected officials spend most of their time catering to corporate interests instead of their interests, all the while thinking this will create jobs.

  • MorganaLeFay says:

    Yet another black institution proving themselves to be in the pay of the corporations, whilst ostensibly a sea of black faces designed to present diversity at the political level. Unfortunately, such corruption crosses racial boundaries and is present at every facet of society. The African-American community cannot afford to be supporting people who do not care for its interests, which is why it is important to read independent black news forums to get real opinions on current events without special interests. Personally, if I were living in America, i would be forming a committee and demanding the firing of all members helping to collude with Wall Street at the expense of the American taxpayer, whether he is black or white. Their actions are precisely what sensible regulations are trying to avoid for the good of the many. If they want to help Wall Street, they can go ask for a job from JP Morgan & Chase and practice their idiocy and callousness there. Just not under the banner of the CBC.

  • hiroader2 says:

    This is the very CBC group photo where I posed the question “What doses. this group have in! common with hip hop culture because there’s nothing either group has manufacture as “national conscious “… w/o that both will be subject to manipulation… Representatives have no grassroot movement and the grass “roots” have no official representation… FAIL

  • AllenShaw says:

    I am not sure I understand how this has any impact on the average Black. When a person buys a home they should be sure to be honest and diligent. They should not expect to purchase more property than they can afford and someone in their local community should explain to them the interest rate and gimmicks that they sign.
    If an individual allows a salesperson to enter numbers on a form, that they are going to sign, that are incorrect they should understand that they, not the salesperson, are responsible for the document!
    Every Black community should have an office that a person who does not understand contracts could go to for advice.
    We need to stop blaming others for our lack of knowledge!

  • AllenShaw says:

    Watchful So what is a Boulé in your mind and what does it have to do with anything?
    Is their something wrong with them?

  • Watchful says:


    Yeah, we SHOULD have received reparations long ago, but we all know things aren’t often as they SHOULD be. 

    Here’s an excerpt from an article that offers what I feel is a honest analysis of the issue you’ve addressed in your comments.

    The blame for this tragedy lies mostly with banks’ risky, reckless and sometimes illegal lending practices. The story is a familiar one. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, millions of Americans bought or refinanced homes in an overheated market. Mortgage brokers lied or misled borrowers about the terms of these mortgages, often pushing borrowers into high-interest subprime loans, even when they were eligible for conventional mortgages.

    They particularly targeted minority areas. In 2006, when subprime lending was at its peak, 54 percent of blacks, 47 percent of Latinos and 18 percent of whites received high-priced loans, according to the Federal Reserve Board.

    Not surprisingly, the nation’s worst underwater areas are disproportionately in black and Latino neighborhoods. In almost two-thirds of the hardest-hit ZIP codes, African-Americans and Latinos account for at least half of the residents.

    The banks’ risky loans eventually came crashing down, devastating communities and causing financial havoc. The federal government rescued the banks, but nobody came to the rescue of the communities the banks left behind.

    The best solution to this quagmire is for banks and other financial institutions to modify underwater mortgages to their current market value, an approach called “principal reduction.” If lenders rewrote the loans to reflect fair-market values, owners would have lower monthly payments, which would free them to put millions of dollars into local economies. Cities would have more stable property tax revenues, and lenders would ultimately benefit by having fewer delinquent loans.

    Of course, many banks no longer own the loans they made. They pooled large numbers of subprime loans into private securities and sold them. The companies that service these securities generally refuse to countenance the idea of “principal reduction.” Yes, some homeowners have been able to persuade lenders to reset their loans, but most get the cold shoulder or a bureaucratic runaround.

    In some cities, though, nonprofit lenders, like New Jersey Community Capital and Hogar Hispano, have stepped into the void, raising capital and purchasing troubled loans in order to modify them on affordable terms. But too few loan holders have been willing to sell to these homeowner-friendly groups.

    In 2012, some of the biggest banks signed a settlement agreement with 49 state attorneys general to modify mortgages, but many of them continue to heap abuse on their customers, and sufficient relief has not reached trapped homeowners.

    The Obama administration created several initiatives to help troubled borrowers, but these programs do not require banks to reset loans as a condition of getting federal funds. The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program has helped only one-quarter of the four million homeowners it was supposed to reach.

    Worse, the federal government has actually been an obstacle to reform. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has refused to allow these two mortgage giants to reduce the principal on underwater mortgages that they own or guarantee. All it would take is for President Obama’s new appointee as F.H.F.A. director, former Representative Melvin Watt, to change the policy, an action that does not require congressional approval. He should do so immediately.

    Here’s the link to the full article.


  • Watchful says:


    In my mind, they r ‘servants to the king’ who work to keep our ppl held back for the benefit of their masters and for their own personal benefit. And yes, there’s definitely something wrong with them ‘in my mind’. Hope that answer’s ur question. 

    BTW, here’s a coupla links u can check out if u like to help u become more informed on just what the Boulé is and what its agenda is.



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