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Larry Summers Aide Luring Veal Pen with Donor Cash at Common Purpose Meeting

This email went out to those who attend the weekly Common Purpose meetings:

From: Lisa Donner
Date: 2009/9/25
Subject: Common Purpose Meeting Tuesday at 3:30: reminder and important note


A reminder of the Common Purpose meeting on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30,
and encouragement to attend.

We expect that a potentially significant funder for AFR will be at the
meeting this week, and that Michael Barr and or Diane Farrell will be
there, and available for updates on the full range of issues.


Lisa Donner
Deputy Director
Americans for Financial Reform

Common Purpose is the weekly veal pen meeting where, as you’ll recall, liberal groups were smacked down for advertising against Blue Dogs and Rahm subsequently called them "fucking stupid" for doing so.

AFR is the HCAN of financial reform — absolutely toothless, set up to raise a bunch money for "financial reform" and never criticize anything the White House does. Have a look at their web site — it’s a Larry Summers wet dream.

I once called them "utterly and completely useless," but it appears I was wrong. They do have a purpose, namely, invite a big funder, Larry Summers’ Deputy Director of the White House Economic Council (Diana Farrell) and an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (Michael Barr) to a weekly meeting run by a lobbyist (Erik Smith), to demonstrate what happens if you play ball and never question the Summers squad.

So, basically, the White House is now fundraising for the veal pen to keep them in line and make sure they don’t do anything that might cause them grief, like — oh, I don’t know, back the progressive members of Congress who are actually standing up for real health care reform and resisting Rahm Emanuel’s neoliberal vision of a taxpayer funded, insurance industry bailout.

When Chris Hayes first wrote about AFR, he described them as a "small community of progressive finance reform advocates" that "has set itself the Herculean (but desperately needed) task of countering the voices of the Men in Suits during the coming battle over financial regulation." I guess if you think the White House has done a bang-up job of "countering the voices of the Men in Suits," you’re probably going to think that standing on the sidelines cheering for them means "job well done" for AFR.

If, however, you think that the White House has become completely captive to Wall Street interests and hasn’t done a damn thing but bail them out and deep six any kind of meaningful reform, then AFR’s failure to do anything but echo those efforts can be chalked up to yet another failure of the coalition model.

But hey, they’re raising a shitload of money, so who cares, right?

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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