The Unlikely Couple: Gary Peters and Elizabeth Warren
By Darren Littell - I was puzzled, along with many others, when Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren endorsed Gary Peters and decided to stump for him based on their polar opposite views of Wall Street.
Gary Peters was an executive for two of Wall Street’s biggest banks – Merrill Lynch and UBS PaineWebber—for over two decades. Those same banks participated in the same high-risk trading practices that led to the last financial crisis. Peters’ last gig before kicking off his political career was as a Vice President of Investments.
Gary Peters has been a member of the Financial Services Committee since arriving in Washington, DC. During his time on the committee, he has attempted to paint himself as a champion for middle-class families against big Wall Street banks. In reality, Gary Peters has failed to represent Michigan families, and has instead focused on taking care of himself by representing his friends on Wall Street.
During Peters’ 2008 Congressional bid, his disclosed assets were valued at $426,000 to $2.5 million. That’s not bad for spending 22 years as a Wall Street banker.
Fast forward to his most recent personal financial disclosure and his assets jumped to $970,000 to $3.9 million – an increase of 55% to 127%.
The Washington Post also listed Peters as one of the “wealthier and more financially aggressive” members of Congress.
Furthermore, his financial records show he invested heavily in financial firms during this period. In fact, a 2007 financial disclosure statement reveals Peters investments in 14 financial banks that received TARP money from the federal government.
Peters claims he was repulsed by the behavior of the Wall Street banks, but omits the fact that’s how he made his living for years. If you look at his investment portfolio, you would never guess that though. While middle-class families were suffering, Gary Peters was growing his personal bank account by cashing in on his investments in the Wall Street banks America was bailing out.
Gary Peters’ campaign account also grew from Wall Street contributions while he demonized their actions. According to FEC records, Peters received campaign contributions from four Wall Street banks which received $10 million or more in bailout money.
Given Peters’ investments and campaign contributions from Wall Street, it’s apparent he had an interest in making sure they continued to be profitable.
Which is why so many are puzzled that Sen. Warren overlooked all these facts and more, and stood side by side with Gary Peters.
In virtually every instance, Peters has failed to represent the interest of Michiganders and has instead opted to side with the interests of big Wall Street banks.
Liberal blog Daily Kos pondered, “…close your eyes, imagine Elizabeth Warren facing down banksters, with subpoena power.”
Gary Peters is that ‘bankster,’ but rather than confront him on his long history as a Wall Street banker, she stood by his side and looked the other way. Fortunately, we know the truth about Gary Peters, and we have a chance to hold him accountable this fall.