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Action Alert

Why Wall Street Joe Crowley Should Retire at 50

We call on Rep. Crowley to take a hint from Gary Ackerman and make this his last year in Congress. By calling on him to retire at 50, we also play on the stereotype of entrepreneurial success: "making enough money to retire rich at 50", given that Crowley has spent years helping the rich get richer at the expense of the 99%.  We're not trying to suggest that people in their 50s shouldn't be serving in Congress! 

With 96% of his campaign contributions coming from outside his district1 , Congressman Crowley epitomizes the destructive influence of corporate campaign money on our legislators and our laws.

To the disappointment of watchdog groups and in contradiction to the conclusions of the Office of Congressional Ethics2 (see), the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct  unfortunately dismissed the case concerning Crowley's solicitation of contributions from the financial industry prior to the vote on the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009.  The fact remains that Crowley actively solicited contributions from the financial industry via a professional fundraiser in the lead-up to the vote and held a fundraising event at the home of a lobbyist on the financial reform bill while amendments to strengthen the bill were being debated and then returned to vote against these amendments.

Crowley's top 20 contributors in the 2010 election included AT&T, Merck, Pfizer, Abbot Laboratories, Bank of America, GE, and Citigroup3, all of which are in the leadership of one or both of the two major corporate lobbying coalitions working  for the passage of the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea Free Trade Agreements he voted on in 2011 - The Latin America Trade Coalition4 and The US-Korea Business Council5.

For Merck, Abbot, and Pfizer, the trade agreements promised to extend patent rights, limiting access to generic drugs and expanding their profits at the expense of people in need of lifesaving medications.6

Bank of America and Citigroup will benefit from Korea Free Trade Agreement rules that ban regulations on "too big to fail", toxic derivatives, and sensible capital controls.7

For notorious polluters like General Electric (the US' #1 Superfund polluter8),  the trade agreements include an investment chapter that gives corporations the right to sue governments in international tribunals for unlimited sums if they believe environmental protection measures interfere with their future potential profits.9 10