Paul Kanjorski: Government Can’t Control Multinationals Anymore

I confess. When I read Zach Carter’s account of his interview with Paul Kanjorski, my first response was to wonder why HuffPo had decided an interview with the former Congressman would make for the (admittedly very fascinating) article that resulted.

Turns out the reason is Bank of America’s woes; as one of the champions of breaking up the banks in Dodd-Frank, this ought to be an “I told you so” moment for Kanjorski, because had we already broken BoA up, it would have forestalled some of the difficulties we’re likely to experience in the near term.

And Kanjorski did address that, intimating that regulators who had left the Administration, like Sheila Bair, had been willing to entertain taking such step, but those who remain (Carter notes that Tim Geithner recently decided to stick around) basically made an agreement with the banks not to use Dodd-Frank’s authority to break them up.

But Kanjorski framed all this within the larger question of whether multinational companies have simply become too big for mere governments to control anymore.

“Because [corporations] have become so international and global in nature, it’s highly questionable whether governments can actually control corporations to a sufficient degree to prevent them from controlling governments,” said Kanjorski,

And he then demonstrated that principle in his discussion of discussions about a tax holiday, which would allow tax cheating corporations to bring money back into the US but only pay cut rate taxes.

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t adjust our tax code otherwise — there are thing we need to do there — but to give them a free ride, what are you encouraging? The next guy who doesn’t like the law will just do the same thing,” Kanjorski said of the proposed tax holiday. “The reality is, why should we be bargaining with super-national corporations who are actually acting against our interest in avoidance of what our law is? We are impotent to get them to respond.”

This takes the argument of Treasure Islands–that corporations are using secrecy havens to avoid taxes–to the level where a former senior legislator of the world’s economic powerhouse admitting to impotence in the face of the corporations because of their size and multinational status.

And he notes something often forgotten in DC: that these are no longer American companies, and their interests do not coincide with our interests.

Of course, that’s not necessarily going to help us, given that Kanjorski’s watching from the private sector as top financial regulators still do act as if these multinationals’ interests coincide with ours.

Issa: Waaahhhh! Dems All Reminding Us of Lies CIA Told in 2002!

Here’s Darrell Issa, in the process of getting schooled by Tweety, who called him on his grandstanding attempt to get the FBI to investigate Nancy Pelosi’s allegation that the CIA led to her on September 4, 2002. (Somehow, neither Issa nor Tweety seem interested in the fact that Porter Goss’ statements, to date, support Pelosi’s contention that CIA didn’t tell Congress waterboarding had already been used before they were briefed.)

But I’m more interested in the attention that Issa pays to a much more inflammatory accusation that Paul Kanjorski has made. In his effort to suggest all the Democrats are beating up on CIA, Issa notes that Paul Kanjorski says "he was lied to a week later."

It appears that Issa is not saying that Kanjorski was lied to in recent days (a week after Pelosi made the claim), but rather that Kanjorski says he was lied to in the week after September 4, 2002. Which seems to be this accusation.

In a town hall meeting in Bloomsburg, Pa. this week [leading up to September 3, 2007], Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a 12-term congressman, said that shortly before Congress was scheduled to vote on authorizing military force against Iraq, top officials of the CIA showed select members of Congress three photographs it alleged were Iraqi Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones. Kanjorski said he was told that the drones were capable of carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical agents, and could strike 1,000 miles inland of east coast or west coast cities.

Kanjorski said he and four or five other congressmen in the room were told UAVs could be on freighters headed to the U.S. Both secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and President Bush wandered into and out of the briefing room, Kanjorski said.

Kanjorski said it was the second time he was called to the White House for a briefing. He had opposed giving the President the powers to go to war, and said that he hadn’t changed his mind after a first meeting. Until he saw the pictures, Kanjorski said, "I hadn’t thought that Iraq was a threat." That second meeting changed everything. After he left that meeting, said Kanjorski, he was willing to give the President the authorization he wanted since the drones "represented an imminent danger."

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Financial Services AIG Hearing Liveblog, Member Blowhard Statements

The hearing can be view on the committee stream or CSPAN3.

The witnesses are:

Panel one

  • Mr. Scott Polakoff, Acting Director, Office of Thrift Supervision 
  • The Honorable Joel Ario, Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Insurance Department, on behalf of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners 
  • Ms. Orice M. Williams, Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, Government Accountability Office 

Panel two 


Barney starts by warning the hecklers.

Three other members included–I missed the first one [oh, I think it was Joseph Crowley], but Marcy Captur and Elijah Cummings are in there.

Kanjorski: AIG unique. Not a bank, and has received much more assistance than any other bankster. Treasury and Fed could not accommodate us. "We need to hear form them, directly and publicly." Full committee hearing on March 24. 

[Note, AIG’s much greater assistance was really assistance for the banks via other means. That Kanjorski statement does not inspire confidence in me, because it hides the degree to which this is still about the JP Morgans and Goldman Sachs of the world.]

Garrett: Where was the outrage when Bush was demanding money from taxpayers? I think I’ll blame it on Democrats.

[Note, the Republicans are going to be out for Geithner’s head here. He’s not going to have much fun when he testifies on Tuesday.]

Frank: I hope we can focus on the subject at hand, but I have to respond to Garrett’s complaint that he didn’t get a hearing quick enough. We did have the hearing in July 2008. At that hearing he asked no questions at that hearing. He declined to ask any questions about it. I suppose he’s disturbed that we didn’t give him a chance to ask questions a month earlier. 

Garrett: My understanding is that I went into other issues as well.

Frank: Not according to my reading of the transcript. Covered bonds hardly seemed to be the major topic that the gentleman wanted to have the hearing about. The committee had a hearing on this well before the Fed went into AIG. It is important for us to amend that statute, but doing it in the midst of that uncertainty is probably not a good idea. I guess we’ll just release the transcript. I guess a lot of people left their fight in the gym. Time to exercise our ownership rights.  Read more