minutes from 2/21/12 occupy the SEC meeting

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attendees:

akshat, alexis, caitlin, elizabeth, eric, mike, andre, rich, susan, larry, jess, evan, corley, charles

 

intros

 

we’re a WG within occupy. our objective was to submit a comment letter to Fed/FDIC/SEC and the OCC.

 

Volcker Rule is a law that prohibits prop trading and the ownership of hedge funds/private equity funds by big banks.

 

trying to be the voice that counterbalances

 

bank letters -> volcker will hurt us -> dilutes rule

 

letter submitted (extensive!) got good media

 

what do we do next? 

- CFTC comment letter

the four agencies has its own version of the volcker rule. it;s very similar to the one we just submitted a comment letter on.

Consensus to submit a letter on it.

CK: Could use it as an opportunity to expand on things. And then simply see attached on the original, so we don’t have to redo the whole document.

 

SIFMA

Someone suggested (from outside the group) doing a march on SIFMA.  Could also engage them directly on their letter. But this may be poor form. A better approach would be to challenge the points and debunk them. Better to respond to the points SIFMA makes, rather than to SIFMA themselves.

 

Potential idea for new topic: Federal Reserve Whitepaper from Jan 4th

Asking banks to hold property to rent rather than foreclose.

Here is the paper: http://federalreserve.gov/publications/other-reports/files/housing-white-paper-20120104.pdf

 

Meeting with the Agencies

Alexis talked to SEC contact about setting up a meeting. Ball is in our court, we need to send SEC list of dates and times we could make it.

If we want to meet with Chairman Schapiro, we’d need to pursue that separately.

 

meeting with them once is probably not enough. we should meet with them more than once if possible.

 

priority should be to keep pressure up on the agencies.

 

Alexis and Elizabeth will coordinate with the Agencies on scheduling meetings.

 

Foreign Banks

Seems the banks are getting very little traction on getting the foreign funds exemption watered down.

 

Point of Information

there is a wall st sales tax. they get it all refunded at the end of the year. it’s in the ny tax code. gov howie hawkins was running on this from the green party.

 

Discussion on general arguments

There was a tweet today: If the Volcker Rule won’t hurt liquidity, why did they exempt gov’t securities? What would we say to that? perhaps they were just not including it b/c it’s safe. but what about munis?

everyone is fine about exemption treasuries, but unfortunately, there is so much else that goes along this.

in the congressional record, merkley mentions that govt securities are exempted b/c they are safe.

 

Tobin Tax

France is instituting a Tobin Tax.

In the Agency letters, some of the banks argue that no other bank did a Volcker Rule, but none of them mention Tobin Tax.

EU might slowly start imposing it.

England has kicked itself out of the EU.

 

Coordinating with Occupy DC

Andre will talk to Aaron, and reach out to Occupy DC.

 

New Topic: Corporate Tax Rate

Would anyone like to look into the new corporate tax rates?

A concern was raised that we may not have bandwidth right now to take on more new topics.

Center of gravity right now is defending our work on Volcker. We still have work to do on making sure our work has the farthest reach possible. Want to be keeping an eye open for our next big thing.

 

Getting the Word Out

It was mentioned that op eds in local papers is really important. And commenting on posts that try and argue the liquidity argument and point them point to our letter.

IMportant to reach out to more people–maybe we could start a petition. Important to reach out and educate people.

What about Richard Courdray? Could he be an ally? There is a meeting tomorrow at 5:30pm.

Rich and Larry will spearhead looking into creating a petition. We have some email and twitter addresses.

 

When looking into new topics

Should consider whether or not things go into Occupy the SEC or Alt Banking. When we approach new business, we should consider which

group it fits best into. We know we are good at writing comment letters, should new topic X fit into our group or Alt Banking?

Would help us if folks can start to do research into topics that interest people.

Would make sense to schedule a meeting at end of Feb or in March that is explicitly a pitch session to help us figure out what a future topic for us. Could be challenging at every mtg to hear new topics all the time.

 

Writing

If folks like to write, we have an ongoing educational effort, and maybe they could draft a potential piece for the blog.

 

Working with other groups

What about working with outside groups?

It was mentioned that this has been a contentious point in the past, and we haven’t been able to get consensus on it in the past.

 

Teaching Opportunity

Every day in March, there will be food, music and teach-ins in Liberty Sq. 12-2pm.

We have an opportunity to do one teach-in per week. We are waiting to hear back on what day of the week it will be.

We have 2 slots filled already, 2 slots open. Who wants to teach? Email us occupythesec@gmail.com

 

Outreach

Elizabeth called Paul Volcker, Charles Ferguson, got voicemails, left msg.

Andre volunteered to help with Outreach, both to potential allies and to media.

Elizabeth will spearhead creating a list of ppl to reach out to.

We may have an opportunity to do a panel.

The more we can create an event around support, the more ppl we can bring in.

 

Folks to work on this: Charles, Andre and Elizabeth

 

Kindle

Elizabeth will be uploading our letter so it’s accessible on the kindle.

 

Panel with other experts

Andre — can you take the lead on organizing a potential panel?

 

 

June 6th Anniversary of the SEC being created

We could potentially have march on the SEC to mark the anniversary of its creation

 

Lobbying Congress, too?

If we hear rumblings of rules undoing Dodd-Frank or Volcker specifically, we could meet with them and talk to them about why the Volcker Rule is important. We should have a specific reason to meet with Congress.

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