Pelosi Spokesman Statement on 60 Minutes Report


Washington, D.C. – Drew Hammill, spokesman for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, issued the following statement on 60 Minutes’ report this evening:

“Congress has never done more for consumers nor has the Congress passed more critical reforms of the credit card industry than under the Speakership of Nancy Pelosi.

“Tonight’s report failed to note that the legislation in question in this story was reported out of the Judiciary Committee on October 3, 2008 – the day the House was consumed in passing TARP and also the last day the House was in session before the November election.  It failed to note that in September 2008, the House passed the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights.  In the next Congress, the House and Senate passed and President Obama signed the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights and the Dodd-Frank legislation, which included a stronger, more direct approach to addressing swipe fees.

“It is very troubling that 60 Minutes would base their reporting off of an already-discredited conservative author who has made a career of out attacking Democrats.

“Leader Pelosi has been in the lead advocating for Congress to act in the public interest and not the special interest.  Three years later, Schweizer’s claims are an effort to revise history and are completely contradicted by Leader Pelosi’s clear record.”

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Background on 60 Minutes Story

60 Minutes reporting is based off of an upcoming book by Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution whose previous books include:

  • “Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy”
  • “Architects of Ruin: How Big Government Liberals Wrecked the Economy – and How They Will Do It Again if No One Stops Them”
  • “Reagan’s War: The Epic Story of His Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph over Communism”

According to POLITICO, Schweizer is a Sarah Palin speechwriter.  Foreign Policy Magazine reports that he has advised Michelle Bachmann on foreign policy.

The book claims that Mrs. Pelosi through her husband, Paul Pelosi, participated in a “preferential” IPO of VISA stock in March 2008, and then as a result, then-Speaker Pelosi did not advance legislation the credit card industry opposed because of that investment.

FACT: Mr. Pelosi’s participation in the VISA IPO was not “preferential.”  Mr. Pelosi participated in the largest IPO ever — $17.9 billion IPO (of the 406 million shares sold on the date of the IPO, Mr. Pelosi bought 5,000) on the recommendation of his broker at Wells Fargo in San Francisco, where he had an existing an account.  Mr. Pelosi only bought a quarter of the shares he purchased at the IPO price.  He went on to buy additional shares as the price rose, including another quarter of the total amount of shares he purchased at nearly double the IPO price.

FACT: Schweizer fails to note that the House, under Mrs. Pelosi’s leadership, passed the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights in September 2008, which was opposed by the credit card industry.  This pro-consumer legislation that was subsequently held up in the Senate that year, but passed both chambers in 2009 and was signed by President Obama.

FACT: Schweizer alleges that Mrs. Pelosi did not bring legislation by Congressman John Conyers to the floor in 2008 concerning swipe fees because of the investments in VISA.  The legislation was reported by the Judiciary Committee under then-Chairman Conyers on October 3, 2008, the day that TARP passed the House of Representatives and the last day of the regular legislative session.  Again, Mr. Conyers’ legislation was reported out of committee in the middle of the financial crisis and on the last day of the regular legislative session (the House had 4 days of lame duck session in November and December 2008).  President Bush would never have signed this legislation.

FACT: The Democratic Congress, under Speaker Pelosi, not only passed the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights in 2009, but the Dodd-Frank legislation in 2010, which included the Durbin Amendment on swipe fees.  The Durbin Amendment built on Chairman Conyers’ legislation and was a stronger, more direct approach to dealing with swipe fees.

FACT: Nancy Pelosi’s record fighting for consumers and against the interests of the credit card industry is clear.  No one has done more to fight for consumers than Nancy  Pelosi.  This is a right-wing smear from a conservative author who has made a career of attacking Democrats.

FACT: Leader Pelosi supports the STOCK Act, which deals with Members of Congress and/or staff making trades based on inside information.

Timeline:

March 18, 2008             VISA IPO
Mr. Pelosi buys 5,000 shares at $44
March 25, 2008             Mr. Pelosi buys 10,000 shares at $64 (above IPO price)
June 4, 2008                 Mr. Pelosi buys 5,000 shares at $86 (above IPO price)
September 23, 2008     House Passed Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights
October 3, 2008            Judiciary Committee reports Conyers bill on swipe fees
House passes TARP legislation
Last day of regular session for the House
April 30, 2009                House passes Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights
May 19, 2009                Senate amends Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights
May 20, 2009                House passes amended Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights
May 22, 2009                President Obama signs Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights
December 11, 2009       House passes Dodd-Frank
May 20, 2010                Senate passes Senate version of Dodd-Frank
June 30, 2010               House passes Dodd-Frank Conference Report (w/ Durbin Admt)
July 15, 2010                Senate passed Dodd-Frank Conference Report (w/ Durbin Admt)
July 21, 2010                President Obama signs Dodd-Frank

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