Robert Johnson’s testimony expunged from Congressional records

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Robert Johnson, director of the Economic Policy Initiative of the Roosevelt Institute, has been extremely critical of the US Government’s handling of matters related to financial services.

This past October 7, he gave testimony at the House of Representatives financial Services Committee expressing some of his concerns.  Not only was his testimony cut short, but his prepared remarks failed to be entered into record (hat tip reader Tom). This is outrageous and a deliberate attempt to expunged his testimony from record. Read the excerpt from Harper’s below (emphasis added):

Predictably, witnesses at the hearing trotted out positions urging caution in regard to the matter of reform…

[Robert] Johnson, who came last, offered the only serious critical viewpoint, saying that the American public had been “quite demoralized by…the bailouts that we experienced last fall.” After about five minutes of his testimony, Congresswoman Melissa Bean—another industry-funded committee member who chaired the hearing because [Barney] Frank was absent—had heard enough. “I’m just going to ask you to wrap up because we’re running out of time,” she told Johnson.

Johnson gamely continued. “When I hear the testimony today that are largely financial institutions and end users, I believe that I represent a third group that comes to the table, which is the taxpayers, the working people of the United States,” he said.

“I do need a final comment,” Bean interjected seconds later.

That put an end to Johnson’s testimony. “I was just called to this hearing last night, so I will provide detailed comments on your bill and a statement for the record that will finish my comments,” he concluded.

About five days later Johnson submitted his full testimony to the committee, to be included on its website along with the statements of the other eight panelists. When it wasn’t posted, Johnson asked Lynn Parramore, editor of the Roosevelt Institute’s blog, to see what was up…

Finally, she was informed that the committee’s general counsel would not allow posting of the testimony because Johnson had not submitted it during the hearing. (Of course, since Johnson had been invited at the last minute it was impossible for him to fulfill this pointless requirement.) So you still can’t read Johnson’s prepared testimony at the committee website, but you can check it out on the Roosevelt Institute’s blog.

Meanwhile, Frank’s committee has put forth its “reform” bill. “Too tepid, too weak, too late,” Johnson says of the legislation. “Very industry influenced. We had a crisis and they are pandering to the perpetrators.”

Read the full gory details below.

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Source

An Object Lesson in Governmental Failure: Derivatives reform – Harper’s

Note: this post originally erroneously stated it was Simon Johnson and not Robert Johnson whose testimony was at issue.

Update: the testimony is now also embedded below for you to read.

Robert Johnson Financial Services testimony: 2009-10-07

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