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Nothing to See Here, Folks: Dodd-Frank Turns Three

Three years ago, on July 21, 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law.

Potentially, you may not want to read this blog because you’ll be hearing about this landmark achievement from many avenues: the New York Times, Fiscal Times, Inside Washington, Washington Post, Huffington Post, a huffing Rush Limbaugh, (Hush!), and even in the Idaho Statesman, my hometown paper.

These commemorative articles will contain flights of optimism, how the important legislative victory that was Dodd-Frank moves us ever forward, and how regulators have begun to use their Dodd-Frank authority to approve stronger equity capital requirements. We agree.

However, a n interesting piece of the post-Dodd-Frank passage puzzle is that is still requires defense and assistance. In an attempt to stymie reform and our optimism, those that lobby on behalf of industry have successfully delayed many pieces of the necessary rulemaking and continue to argue that key protections included in the bill are unnecessary. Wall Street spends about $2 million a day on some 3,000 lobbyists.

The need for defense was never as clear as on July 16, when Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) threatened the “nuclear” option to unblock the Republican Senate caucus’ filibuster threat against Richard Cordray, the president’s nominee to direct the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB). This agency was created in  Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, and of course is a key reason this bill makes financial waters safer for consumers to wade in. Reid was successful in defending the appointment of Cordray, and thanks to this outcome of this battle we will continue to have a fully functioning CFPB.We’re grateful to Senator Reid, but also to you, our Public Citizens, for calling your senators and representative as well, and telling them not to sell out to Wall Street. We appreciate that tell them that Main Street spent $12.8 trillion lobbying for the Dodd-Frank Act (the official government estimate of the cost of the ’08 crash.) We know a bit about our Public Citizen members, because you respond to our surveys, and Rick Claypool’s lively emails. We know many of you are attorneys or doctors, or full-time dads and moms, or full-time grandmothers or grandfathers who have become the opposite of more conservative as the years pass.  We know some of your crash horror stories. You’ve shared them with regulators crafting the Dodd-Frank rules, thank you kindly.

So in the end, perhaps it is a good thing that you won’t find anything new in this blog. It is gratifying that this landmark achievement is still as momentous as it was 3 years ago, and this is due in large part to your robust defense. Thank you all, and happy birthday Dodd-Frank.

Bartlett Naylor is the financial policy reform advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. Follow him on Twitter at @BartNaylor.