Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley, who is trying to establish himself as a candidate of bold, progressive ideas, outlined a plan Thursday to step up regulation of Wall Street and break up the nation’s biggest banks.
The proposal from the former Maryland governor seeks to boost funding to “police bad behavior on Wall Street,” to ensure that government-appointed regulators of the financial sector are more independent and to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era measure that separated commercial and investment banking.
O’Malley’s ideas, detailed in a 10-page “white paper," comes just a day after the former governor released a plan on college affordability. That plan sets a goal of making it possible for students to attend public college and universities debt-free within five years.
The release of O'Malley's latest plan coincides with a blunt "open letter" to "Wall Street megabanks" Thursday in which he warns: "Here's the bad news for you. As president, I have no plans to let up on you. I’ll work tirelessly to eliminate the unique danger posed by the handful of too-big-to-fail banks. And while I’m doing that, I’ll finally bring real enforcement and oversight to the federal government."
O’Malley, who lags well behind Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in early nominating state polls, is not the only Democrat calling for tough Wall Street reforms. The cause has been championed in Washington by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a darling of the party’s left. who was unsuccessfully wooed by Democrats to seek the party's nomination.
Among the initiatives in O'Malley's plan: a three-year ban on those who were employed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies from working for entities who appear before their former employer; doubling the funding for Wall Street regulatory agencies; and the creation of a stand-alone division within the Department of Justice to focus on economic crimes.