Hillary Clinton Tries to Walk Delicate Line In plan to Rein In Banks
By Jesse Hamilton
Call it Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street dilemma. In unveiling her most specific plans yet to stiffen rules on financial firms, Clinton’s presidential campaign is aiming to shore up her standing with the liberal base of the Democratic party that has made getting tough on the industry a near litmus test for their support. At the same time, the Democratic frontrunner’s move was greeted with a shrug by many bankers because it stopped short of the calls by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, her closest rival for the party’s nomination, to break up the biggest lenders. The effort highlights the difficulty that Clinton’s campaign has in crafting a middle ground at a time when U.S. voters still blame the financial industry and lax Washington oversight for the 2008 market meltdown. As a former New York senator, Clinton has developed close ties to many financial companies and remains Wall Street’s favored Democratic candidate. Finance executives will keep seeing Clinton as “better by comparison,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Washington-based research firm Federal Financial Analytics Inc. Her ideas are “not going to cause people at Bernie Sanders demonstrations to come racing over to her.” Clinton’s recommendations, released in a 15-page paper on Thursday, are often nuanced and delve into areas ranging from high-speed trading to derivatives to criminal penalties for bank executives. She pledged to defend the Obama administration’s Dodd-Frank Act from Republican attacks and prevent future taxpayer bailouts of financial firms.