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Campaign Cash Bought Deregulation Triggered Economic Meltdown Interview with Nick Nyhart,

Campaign Cash Bought Deregulation Triggered Economic Meltdown. Interview with Nick Nyhart, co-founder and president of Public Campaign, conducted by Scott Harris
Campaign Cash Bought Deregulation Triggered Economic Meltdown

Interview with Nick Nyhart, co-founder and president of Public Campaign, conducted by Scott Harris

Outraged over the $165 million in bonuses paid to employees of insurance giant AIG, a recipient of over $180 billion in U.S. government bailout funds, some critics called for the arrest of those involved. In a recent television appearance, President Barack Obama noted that most of what the big banks and investment houses did with subprime mortgage-backed securities and credit default swap derivatives, that triggered the current economic crisis was perfectly legal. And it's true that deregulation of the nation's financial institutions, legislated by Congress, is the key to understanding why the economy now finds itself in the worst downturn since the Great Depression, a process that began under President Ronald Reagan.

The enormous amounts of money flowing directly and indirectly from Wall Street firms to U.S. representatives and senators played a direct role in influencing legislators to dismantle long-standing regulations designed to avert the financial disaster seen after the stock market crash of 1929. Over the past 10 years, Wall Street companies spent more than $5 billion to influence Congress, with $1.7 billion going to federal candidates, parties and political action committees.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Nick Nyhart, co-founder and president of Public Campaign, which has for years been an advocate for public financing of electoral campaigns at the state and federal level. Nyhart examines the links between America's corrupting pay-to-play big money system of financing elections and the nation's current economic crisis. He also discusses a new bill, the Fair Elections Now Act, that would create a voluntary public campaign financing system that would ban contributions from lobbyists, and place strict limits on other sources of campaign cash.

Contact Public Campaign by calling (202) 293-0222 or visit their website at www.publicampaign.org

Related links:
* "Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America,"www.Wallstreet.watch.org, March 4, 2009
 http://www.wallstreetwatch.org/soldoutreport.htm

* "Campaign Finance Challenged Bill to Overhaul System Would Ban Lobbyist Donations," Washington Post, March 24, 2009
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/23/AR2009032303142.html

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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:  http://www.btlonline.org
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