What’s wrong with this picture?
In 2008, at the same time they were conspiring to wreck our economy, big banks, Wall Street CEOs, and shady investment firms defrauded Oregon’s pension fund to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
These firms drained as much as $300 million from the fund through fraud and unethical behavior, not to mention all the subsequent losses from the Wall Street meltdown that followed. This is the equivalent of more than $1 billion in long-term indebtedness. (If those firms hadn’t taken that money and it was still available to be invested, it would have produced more than $1 billion over 20 years.)
And yet? Most of the perpetrators of this fraud have gotten away with it. Worse? The individuals and banks got even richer by profiting from their misdeeds.
Even worse: Instead of going after the bad guys who got us into this mess, many Oregon lawmakers think we should be asking low and middle income seniors to make up the difference by cutting their retirement benefits. Why not go after the banks for what they owe? Lawmakers are being prodded along by lobbyists for big corporations, multimillionaires, newspaper publishers, and other cheerleaders for the ultra-rich.
Well, we can do something about it. The Oregon Treasurer and the Attorney General have sued some of the firms that committed the fraud and other misdeeds. There’s $150 million to $180 million in pending lawsuits, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Like so many other things we’ve pioneered, Oregon can take the lead in pursuing justice from these modern-day robber barons, but in order for that to happen, our elected leaders will have to make it a priority.
In last year’s historic elections, I don’t remember hearing many voters clamoring to take away benefits from retired teachers and nurses, but I sure remember many, many voters demanding that we hold big corporations and Wall Street CEOs accountable.
Sign this petition to tell your legislators and Governor Kitzhaber that before we go cutting benefits for retired seniors, we must:
• Pursue and prosecute every significant instance of corporate fraud against the pension fund that we can find.
• Recover every dime possible from those who took it.
• Send a clear message that Oregon won’t be pushed around by big banks and Wall Street firms.