The Corner

What a Farce

Dan noted yesterday that Sen. Chris Dodd snuck in a (literally) eleventh-hour amendment to the Senate’s financial-regulation bill which would have allowed a group of federal officials who oppose Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s derivatives amendment to quietly “study” it to death.

Dodd apparently thought he could safely do this without affecting Lincoln’s chances in her primary race, but Lincoln failed to win outright and must win a runoff. So now Dodd has pulled a double reverse and issued a “nevermind” via Twitter: He will not bring up his amendment to Lincoln’s derivatives bill after all.

For what it’s worth, Nicole Gelinas has mostly convinced me that derivatives should be traded through clearinghouses on exchanges. But it’s also true that if Congress implemented this reform, a lot of the other reforms in the bill — such as forcing banks to spin off their derivatives desks — wouldn’t be necessary.

Dodd is out of a job come November. He’ll probably end up working for the Obama administration or for Wall Street, both of which oppose the Lincoln amendment. In his botched attempts to kill the bill, Dodd is like the archtypal bungling henchman from 1,000 movies, cursing his luck, dreading having to explain this to his (potential future) bosses. A runoff? Who coulda node? 

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