tv Washington Journal CSPAN April 17, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EDT
host: the goldman as much as case may eventually find its way to the supreme court, but today it is the lead story on most of the major newspapers. we're going to talk about it for the first 45 minutes of this edition of the "washington journal." good morning. today is saturday, april 17. for the first 45 minutes we want to talk about the charges leveled against by the s.e.c. against goldman sachs, charging them with fraud: the numbers,
202-737-0001 for republicans. 202-737-0002 for democrats. and independents, 202-628-0205. just a samplinging of some of the headlines in the papers this morning. this is from "the new york post", goldman fraud bust, double dealing in one billion dollars worth of toxic mortgages. also this morning on the front page of the "financial times," goldman charged with fraud. s.e.c. files civil charges, claims mortgage investors were misled. on the front page of the "philadelphia inquirer," goldman accused in fraud suit. the s.e.c. says the firm sold securities without notifying investors of theft against them. and the lead story in the "new york times" this morning, s.e.c. accuses goldman of fraud in housing deals, says bank sold mortgage investment meant to fail. firms issues denial.
this is reported, and it begins, goldman sachs was accused of security fraud in a civil lawsuit filed friday by the securities and exchange commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly intended to fail. joining us now to talk more about this story is the the story's co-author, louise story, "new york times" business reporter, welcome to the program. guest: hi, good morning. host: what exactly is the s.e.c. charging goldman sachs with? guest: yes, misleading investors in this deal. the way that they are accused to have misled them is that this was a bundle of mortgages. it's a bundle of mortgage exposure, and people who bought into advocates thought that there would be good mortgage exposure. they were positive on the housing market.
goldman said the deal had been designed by an outside independent firm. what the s.e.c. is saying here is that actually john paulson, a prominent hedge fund manager, and he was negative on the housing market, he had a role in designing this vehicle, and so he had every incentive to put in bonds in there, and the bonds from goldman put in that that would be very poor performers, and so the s.e.c. is saying investors should have known that this bond was not designed by an independent firm on its own. host: why is this a civil suit and not a criminal suit? guest: the s.e.c. brings civil suits. but this can be referred or taken up by criminal prosecutors f. they do take it up, there will be an even higher bar that they have to prove. they have to prove intent to
defraud, which is harder to prove in any case. but certainly, you know, you can bet that a lot of different prosecutors are looking at it. >> was john paulson -- tell us a little bit more about him and how he was able to get the people at goldman sachs to buy into this plan. guest: this guy john paulson -- let me note, he has no relation to hank paulson, former treasury secretary, he's unrelated to him -- john paulson has had a really interesting creemplet he's been in banking a long time, but he was kind of unheard of by most people until he figured out how that there were cracks in the housing market and he mounted a huge short position against the mortgage market n. 2007, that position fielded him $3.7 billion personally in a
personal profit. so he really scored big on this. he was a big client of goldman, and he went to goldman, as well as to other banks, and asked them if he could help design mortgage securities that he could bet against, because he wanted to bet against more and more of them because he was so sure of his bet and he wanted to do it bigger size so that he would make more money when housing collapsed. host: this sounds like going a horse track and convincing the horseracing establishment to set up a race. you're going to help set up the race, and then you're going to control the gambling on the horses. >> so, you know, every day people come to wall street dealers and say, he want to do x, y, z. you know, i want to go long on this or short on that, and it's really part of wall street's normal job to help them do
that. so that's not unusual. what is unusual is helping someone on one side of the trade do something that fundamentally affects the other side and that should be disclosed to the other side and not telling that. wall street is generally supposed to be a neutral broker in terms of working with different clients and disclosing what's going on, and they did not disclose john paulson's role in designing securities. host: would it be act treat say that john paulson put the fix in? guest: well, i mean, he certainly did his research and figured out which of these bonds were going to tank. when you look at how this security performed, it was garbage. 99% of it, according to the s.e.c., 99% of the mortgage bonds had defaulted by john wary 2008. that was less than a year after it was created. host: the headline on the jump
page of your article in this morning's "new york times," s.e.c. files fraud suit against goldman sachs. you write, the lawsuit could be a siphon a revitaled securities and exchange commission, which has been criticized for early missteps in assessing the causes of the financial crisis. the agency appears to be tracing the mortgage pipeline all the way from companies like countrywide financial that originated home loans to the trading floors that dominate wall street's profit machine. based on what's happening, the civil suit against goldman, what kind of changes do you see regarding the s.e.c. and how they enforce trading on wall street? guest: the question is how far reaching will this be, and that's a question that everyone on wall street is wondering about. i got a number of phone calls from people all over the street
at different banks yesterday, and people are wondering, you know, is this a one off, is this the s. c. kind of making a statement here that they've got got something on these complex mortgage securities, or is this the beginning of what could be a very wide sweep into mortgage bonds that were created all over? and if it is, that's what just about every financial company, right on the radar of what they're looking at. host: we're talking about s.e.c. charging goldman sachs with fraud. we want to get you involved in the conversation. let's go to the phones. cincinnati, ohio, juanita on our line for democrats. go ahead. caller: good morning. how you doing? host: good morning. what do you think? caller: well, i'll just make this short and sweet. i pulled it up on the internet the other night, last night, you know, the original s.e.c. deal that was written by f.d.r.
and congress. and this is something that the s.e.c. did a long time ago, and the views out there, they know that joe kennedy sr. was the first chairman of the s.e.c. and f.d.r. really put him in charge because he knew where the bodies were buried. but listening to npr last night, it seems like what goldman sachs had done,ñi what lot of us felt out here, was that they had created a win-win situation with some bad mortgages and the bets on them. and that is, you know, if the mortgages -- whoever was handling this, if the mortgages went bad, they got paid. if the mortgages were good, they got paid. but the people who they depend upon it was the poor schmuck making his mortgage payments every month, and that's the person who they depended on.
frankly, i think it's time now. i don't think we should sue them, but i think some of these financiers need to go to jail. they really do. because you have any idea, any idea of the suffering that has been put on people here in cincinnati, people losing their houses, losing their jobs, you know, worrying about simple things, whether they can afford medicine, these kinds of things, there's no would weather in god's heaven that they should get away with -- without penalty. host: thanks for your call. shannon on our line for republicans out of columbus, i believe. caller: yeah, good morning. i'm not too much up on goldman sachs, but i do know that the
democrats like to point their finger and say, oh, republicans are in with wall street, republicans are in with this, republicans -- the democrats are the ones that better be checking on with this goldman sachs. little chucky schumer there right out of new york got the most money from goldman sachs. obama got money from goldman sachs. so you need to put the demos up on the firing pine, as we like to say. host: back to the newspaper articles, this in the "financial times," the u.s. v. goldman sachs, case likely to spur efforts on finance reform, as we continue to talk about this with louise story of the "new york times." what kind of reform might we be seeing based on behalf the congress, what the democrats are trying to do, and based on this particular case?
guest: well, loft aspects of financial regulatory reform don't actually dress what went on, according to the s.e.c. in this case. so perhaps even out of this case we'll see other proposals created. the financial reform package focuses on derivatives clearing . i don't think, you know, clearing any derivatives in this case necessarily would have changed this, and it focuses on protection and there wasn't a direct component of this. but perhaps you'll see calls for more of these. and i think stepping back, one of the things that i've been hearing about, really over the past year from people inside the industry and outside, is the question of what does wall street stand for anymore? and they need to be re-evaluated, because in the
past, wall street firms did not pay so much or put their own positions out there and try to profit on their own capital, they mosted serviced clients. and when you make your bread and butter serving clients, some people say you might be less likely to do something like this, not disclose something important to a client, because you wouldn't want to lose clients. so i think a lot of people are thinking about what is wall street anymore and what should it be. host: let's go back to the phones. mclean, virginia, dennis on our line for independents. welcome to the "washington journal." caller: i want to bring attention to everybody's 401-k and all the money you got invested in these funds and various other instruments that are out there and put out a warning to you. you might to want put it into something a little more secure. this is far more indemocratic than you can possibly imagine.
an independent commission needs to be set up. den kucinich would be a good person to set it up, barbara -- her name escapes me right now, but sheila barrett also a good person. they're very upstanding and good people, and they'll get to the bottom of this eventually. it will take about five years to get to the bottom of this because it is so wide and so deep that you cannot believe. host: thanks for you'll. let's move on to orlando, florida. danny on our line for democrats. caller: you know what? the folks up there, they are nothing but financial terrorists, ok? and the american public should realize what's going on now is the republican plan and also as far as financial reform, what's going on now is the republican plan.
and i want these people to tell me how the poor people, with fannie mae and freddie mac, these people did not create the create default swap and all of those instruments over in the neighborhood, ok? like i said, like i say, i never do real terrorists like al qaeda. i always feared the real financial terrorists up on wall street. those people have done more harm to this country than bin laden could ever think about, and these people are fearing me when they should be fearing the people in real terrorists, which is their own boss and supported by the republicans. thank you. host: our next call comes on our line for republicans out of cooksville, tennessee. go ahead. caller: good morning, and thank you for taking my call. this is just another example of
wall street being manipulated, especially by those people who make a lot of money and do something for it. if you have your 401-k like that, look out. because i'm telling you right now, the way it looks, you know, you might end up lose ago lot more than. that you think it's because $11,000 now, no, that's the best that's been put up there manipulated and very much to do that. and i'm not surprised at all that we've had two major corrections in 10 years. and i feel put yourself in there or something like that. thanks. host: in the "new york times" op-ed section this morning, this by william d. cohen, who writes, "in a rush to judge goldman, the market wasted little time in rushing to a particularly harsh judgment against goldman sachs on friday , slicing some $12.4 billion off the company's market value after the scurelts and exchange commission filed a blockbuster civil suit against the firm and
a vice president who worked there. the commission says goldman failed to disclose to investors how complicated mortgage-backed securities was made and the conflict that resulted from it. what makes the market sounding particularly painful is that early next week, goldman's stock likely would have soared after it announced huge earnings for the first quarter. instead, the s.e.c.'s civil complaint has crushed it. but wait. does the punishment fit the alleged crime"? louise story, in your particular opinion, from what you sit, where the punishment, this $1 billion civil suit, fit the crime? guest: you mean based on the stock price falling? you know, the stock prices of all companies have moved around a lot. in the last year, it could easily fully recover, you know, with the earnings or it might stay down, it could move a lot. i think the real question is going to be played out as we see this case go forward.
goldman itself issued a strong statement yesterday and said that they absolutely disagree with the characterizations in the s.e.c.'s claim. they said that in this particular daily, they actually lost money, not made money, and that they fully disclosed what they needed to disclose about how it was designed, so it does not look like goldman is going to pay a little settlement and move on. it looks like they are going to make their point about what they did in their view was fine. host: there's also a story with the headline, goldman grief may be spared. is the s.e.c. looking at other companies like goldman to see if all of their trading and all of their investments are on the up and up? guest: this is something they've been looking at for a few months, as have a number of us in the business press, been scouring through these
marketing documents since last fall, and there are deals all over the street where the marketing looks similar. now, the question will be, was marketing correct? is that really what went on, or what went on behind the scenes in the design of the vehicle? host: back to the phones. new york city, mike old our line for independents. welcome to the "washington journal," and thanks for waiting. caller: oh, yep. good morning to you. you're a great host. i enjoy watching you on the weekend. host: thank you. caller: i'm an expert on securities law. in this charge, what goldman did i think -- i can tell you as an expert, this is not a violation of securities law. i'm a professor. i teach the bank accounting, securities law to the joint m.b.a.-l.l.b. program at a
major ivy league business school. let me tell you, they took the easy way out. this is just publicity. here's the violation of the securities law has gone. citicorp, union bank of switzerland, royal bank of scotland sold stocks in their companies, filed with the s.e.c., false financial statements, not adequately expressing what the real losses are. based on that, people who had 401-k plans, their stock in citicorp went from $60 to $5. royal bank of scotland was wiped out. based on false financials. now, what they're doing here is they've taken something that's really very, very popular, but certainly wrong. i mean, what they're doing is they're saying, they're selling
mortgages and what they did was illegal. let's say that's true. they've got andrew cuomo in an buildings, sale of improper mortgages. but what they've left out is $5 hundred billion by citycorp, union bank of switzerland, royal bank of scotland, who really destroyed $5 hundred million of 401-k plans based on false financials filed with the s.e.c. host: we're going to leave it there because i have to get back to louise story, but thank you very much for weighing in. louise story, before we let you go, michael brought up some interesting things about 401-k's. as investors all over the country go back and start looking over their 401-k's on monday, is there a reason, if they've got money invested with
goldman sachs, is there a reason for them to be scared? guest: this they've invested in goldman stock, again, i don't think we can at all discern what's going to happen with that. we don't have a crystal ball here. these stocks have moved all over the place. if you remember, the bank stocks were down in the gutter at the height of the financial crisis. so, you know, i can't say that they should be worried at all, but i think people should watch this case and watch for others to see how looking back at the behavior before the financial crisis and during it, how that plays out and whether we find more alleged wrongdoing. host: louise story, business reporter with the new york teams, she has the lead story this morning in her paper, along with gretchen morganson. thank you very much for october "washington journal" this morning. guest: thank you. host: charlie in detroit on our line for democrats. what are your thoughts?
guest: good morning, pedro, and good morning, c-span. host: good morning to you too. are you listening to us on x.m. radio? caller: no, no, i am on the tv. it is ridiculous to blame j.p. morgan chase or merrill lynch or citibank or anybody else because the fundamental wall street of the financial instrument depends on some basic system. for example, the federal reserve has a responsibility to have prices. and treasury secretary paulson before the said the only thing americans can export is the universal financial instruments
complaining we don't make any more to other financial instruments. so how do these like j.p. morgan make money? it is by losing. you know what ode upis, pedro? host: what is that? caller: it is other people's money. other people's money. other people's money is the pension fund, all this stuff, all this money is used to transfer wealth to capital gainers so monthly dividends or monthly pension payments or something like that.
host: all right, charlie, we're going to leave it there. jane on our line for republicans out of san francisco, california, thanks for waiting. caller: oh, thank you. this is a very interesting topic, and the thing it goes back to is you have people like george soros, who is a fundraiser and he runs a hedge fund, he's a fundraiser for the democrat party as the lady said previously. and what happens is, when you can remember when bill clinton originally did away with glass steeg he will, and this is for the democrats to pretend to want to have housing for the poor, but instead, all these banks ended up with billions of dollars, and they ran these bad mortgages supposedly for the poor, bundled them up in this particular case with goldman. mr. paulson took these bad loans, and he sold them to the people who are in 401-k
pension, and goldman was behind that, because what happens with these hedge funds is that these people -- they don't use their own money. they use the hedge fund's money. and then there's a rule that means there's a company that you're trading with, you're supposed to be able to buy the next trade once there's a move up. but instead you're allowed to buy a trade at any amount, and that makes the company go bankrupt. host: so jane, are you saying that it's the democrats' fault that paulson and goldman sachs got themselves into this predicament? caller: absolutely, sir. you know why? because they demanded -- and this is backed by bill clinton had attorney general reno go after these banks. if they did not adhere to helping what they call redlining in these years was the poor people in the neighborhoods who couldn't get loans, and they float the
loans, the banks were forced to write these loans for these poor people, indicating that they had income when they didn't without any down payment. and therefore, they took advantage by wrapping all these loans up and selling them abroad and selling them all over the world and causing us -- i warned at the time they were destroying our pensions, and this is why we should have a good tea party because the people are angry at what the democrats have done with our pensions and with our money, and they are now going to be paying $1 trillion in interest for every year because of the money they keep spending. we asked them, please, the democrats, change them. we have to change the people who were there too long, and they will do this again unless new laws and regulations, which, by the way, obama voted against regulations when he was
a senator. host: all right, ma'am, we're going to leave it there. thanks for the call. next subpoena larry on our line for independents out of winston-salem, north carolina. larry? host: hi. what i wanted to say is be careful about politicizing this situation, trying to say it is democrat or republican, because those are things that are just being manipulated by the people in power to keep those of us that are on the bottom with each other instead of looking at the problem. just like these people pay lobbyists who lobby congressmen to get their way. they also pay media people to advocate their position. why would anyone even goin write an article about a company that has done wrong and
asks us to question if we're looking at the right people. we already know we're looking at the right people. host: we're going to take a short break from our discussion regarding the s.e.c. charges against goldman sachs to talk about yesterday's hearing in the senate judiciary committee, talking about the nomination of goodwin lue at the university of california. he's a professor out there at the berkeley law school. and jong to us talk a little bit more about that is the chief congressional correspondent with the washington examiner. good morning. welcome to the program. guest: good morning. host: most of the headlines this morning talk about the nomination hearing in terms of his contentiousness between mr. liu and some of the republicans in the senate judiciary committee. explain that for us. guest: congressmen are accusing him of practicing judicial activism. they think when he comes to the
court, he's going to interpret the constitution very liberally just by lookt his past writings and speeches. he's been a law sexrofere a law clerk, but they think by looking at his writings and speeches that he would be somebody who was on the ninth circuit court be a very -- use a very liberal interpretation of the snugs rather than following specifically, which is what a lot of republicans want. he has defend helpless by saying these were things that he said and wrote about as a professor to be sort of provocative and serve as a different role. but that wasn't really involved by any republicans. they're still really not pleased with him. by the end of the hearing, there was no real resolution of that. at this point, there's a question of whether republicans will try to filibuster. we don't know if they're going to take on that fight. that would be a big deal. they haven't done anything like that in a long time. right now it looks like they
don't like him, but we're not sure what the next step is, whether they're going to make the move to try to block him. host: in "the philadelphia inquirer" this morning, an article with the headline, "republicans question liu's fitness for the bench." this is by james oliphant from the "chicago tribune" saying they view this as part of a larger struggle over the direction of the federal judiciary, and senators friday repeatedly suggested that liu would "create or invent new rights under the constitution or apply the law in a biased manner." guest: that's right. and what's interesting about the republicans and what they're doing at this point, they're trying to lay the ground work for a filibuster, and it wouldn't be just based on ideology. they're trying to say, maybe he's not ready for the bench, because like i said, he's not been -- he's not brought cases before the court. and he has been basically a professor. they're trying to say, is this really the job for you?
he based that also on some writings that he thought showed, you know, he made them really harsh criticism of justice samuel alito during his confirmation hearing. and jon kyl of arizona thought those marks, he called them vicious and emotionally and racially charged. and based on that, republicans are trying to say that maybe he's not ready for an appointment as high as the federal court judge, if he's making comments like that, he's never brought a case before the court, you know, he's just been a law clerk. however, democrats are saying that this is an unfair charge because many a bush appointee had little or no experience and was serving in another capacity before being appointed to a federal court. and, you know, of all the supreme court justices, i believe only season i can't sotomayor has become experience
before she became a member of the supreme court. that would also be perhaps a tricky argument for the republicans to make. but they're clearly trying to say it goes beyond ideology, because in the past, ideology has not been enough to gather the support in the g.o.p. form a filibuster. host: there are some editorial people people in the "washington journal" that see this nomination process for professor lui as a precursor to what may happen when president obama names a replacement for retiring justice stevens. and in their editorial page this morning in the "washington journal," they write, "for a preview of the pit falls facing president obama phenom natures a liberal to succeed retiring supreme court justice john paul stevens, yesterday's hearing for goodwin lui is instructive. as a nominee for the ninth circuit court after peels, the 39-year-old berkeley law school professor is a prototype for those who believe the constitution should be read to reflect what he has called the
evolving norms and social understandings of our country." so susan, is it possible that the administration, the obama administration, decided that they were going to put liu on toast the waters and see how contentious it might be in the senate for when they actually go ahead and name a replacement for justice stevens? guest: liu is only 39 years old. some people think he will be someone in the future elected to the supreme court. and so there's some worry on the part of the g.o.p. that, goodness, they think he's liberal, and he liberally interprets the constitution, and now we're going to get him on the federal bench and then eventually he'll end up on the supreme court. now they don't to want see that happen. as to whether this is going to be really kind of a precursor to the supreme court fight, i'd say yes and no.
you know, it depends on what obama selects, it really depends. and that's how the republicans are going to decide whether they're going have enough willpower. they tend to not do that. sometimes they call that a nuclear option, really filibuster supreme court nomination. that's a very big deal. but i think what you're going to see is, again, this argument over the interpretation of the constitution. now, when sonia sotomayor was under grilling from the senate judiciary committee, they questioned her on all kinds of things, on her viewers, and that was kind of a similar fight. she was pretty easily -- she was confirmed, fairly comfortable margin in the senate. i think it will be hard for republicans to get a filibuster base. they really need to find what they would call a smoking gun with any of these nominees.
that's really hard to do. host: moovering forward, what's the next step in this process and what is the likelihood that professor liu's nomination is going to come to the floor of the senate anytime soon? guest: right now he's finished with his questioning. they hold the record open for a while to collect more materials and maybe perhaps ask more questions. it's thought that -- the committee itself isn't going to get to a vote on his nomination until may or so, and he'll be easily approved by that committee, because it's slanted heavily in favor of democrats. now, the question after that is when does harry reid bring his confirmation to the floor. that has a lot to do with what's on the agenda, because that's going to be a big fight obviously. it's going to take some time, and they've got all kinds of other things on the agenda that they're trying to get to. of course, the financial
regulatory reform, there's talk of a climate and energy bill, harry reid has even brought up the prospect of the reform, which is a massive undertaking. there are many judges waiting to be taken up. there's almost two dozen the senate has not confirmed yet, so he's one of those. it's going to take some time when he's planning to do. this he's going to try to do this t really quickly or not, so that's something we're all waiting to find out about. host: susan ferrechio from "the washington examiner," thank you very much for october program this morning. guest: my pleasure. host: we're going to continue our discussion for another couple of minutes regarding the s.e.c. charges against goldman sachs, charging them with fraud. our next call comes from las vegas, nevada. brian on our line for desms go ahead, brian. caller: good morning. how you doing? i want to talk about as far as goldman sachs.
personally i can't tell because goldman sachs is too huge, too huge and powerful, and it does not matter what president is in the white house when you're dealing with that kind of power, it's an extreme hurdle to try. but my main thing is about the tea baggers and said that subprime was caused by the housing. that he wants a huge neck active, and i would advice people to educate themselves and read books. this is for the national bureau of economic research and yale economist gary gordon. the subprime loan was not nearly as big to cause a debacle. it was caused by unregulated and uninsured renewed sale and repurchase industry, which is a $20 trillion industry, and the subprime is only caupsed by a $1.2 trillion, so compare $1.2 trillion to $20 trillion, that's like comparing 50 cents to a penny. host: let me get your thoughts real quick on this piece by
"the new york daily news," the headline is "liar's poker." he writes, sensational allegations of fraud at goldman sachs raise the question for individual investors whether this is just a piece of a larger game played out on wall street in which the big fish collude to profit off hapless and witless marks. what are your thoughts? caller: my thoughts on that, it's like when i used to box. you're thinking of throwing one punch, but you're actually going to be throwing four punches. bottom line is that maneuvering around, trying to cover themselves. again, right now it's too early to tell because this is too big and too powerful of an industry, and it's going take some time to get out. i personally think the truth is going to come out. host: thanks for your call. we got to move on to robert on our line for independents. topeka, kansas, good morning. caller: good morning, sir. how are you? host: i'm fine. what do you think about $1 billion stack of lies, fed
slams goldman with huge civil fraud charges? caller: well, i think it should planned a long time ago. my parents bought a house in 1972, $32,000, brand new. i could have bought the same house for $79,000 last year. i don't get how they can hedge against everybody's houses and make the prices so high that no one can really afford them. i mean, that's fraud. host: mike on our line for derges thanks for waiting. caller: no problem. thanks forgiving me the opportunity. i just want to follow up on that tea bagger lady from, i believe, san francisco. host: yeah, i think they call themselves tea partiers, but go ahead. caller: i agree with her. the worst thing clinton did in office wasn't with monica lewinsky. it was allowing the republicans , it was allowing phil gramm,
it was allowing them to go ahead and push through that gramm-leetch bill. clinton had nothing to do with it. if you all recall, it was a weapon of mass destruction, monica lewinsky. it was the republicans that put that bill through. host: let's move on to nashville, tennessee. john on our line for independents, good morning. caller: hi. host: joan, i'm sorry. caller: i just wanted to mack a comment about the followup to the lady who indicated they was a member of the tea party. they just don't seem to understand that the loans -- and i know that they mean african-americans when they talk about the fannie mae and freddie mac. those institutions, one of them was started in the 1930's, and
the other one was started in the 1970's. and they were started primarily to benefit whites. and bringing it up to today, when african-americans went into those mortgage countries, places like that, they did not hold those lenders. those people decide that had they should make money by the amount of amount of loans that they wrote. and they did what was was necessary to keep up the volume of loans that they wrote, even to the point of cutting and pasting information from a good application on to a bad application. now, how can a person be responsesible for what happens after they had signed the application and the mortgage
lener then finagles with the application? how is that person responsible for that? host: some other headlines from the "washington journal", gates rejects calls. the pentagon will continue to limit the information about the fort hood shooting it provides the lawmakers, jeopardizing the prosecution. roshte gates said that friday, brushing off a subpoena brought from a senate panel. also in the "new york times" this morning, in hospital decision, obama finds safe grounds on gay rights. also from the "new york times" regarding the volcano that exploded in iceland and the cloud of volcanic ash that seems to be filling the skies, the international air transport association said friday that a conservative estimate of the financial damage to the airline industry by the disruptions included more than $200 million
a day in lost revenue, and that it did not know, yet know, how much more airlines had spent to reroute planes, care for stranded passengers, and park grounded aircraft at airports. back to the phones. orlando on our line for republicans. bill, go ahead. caller: thank you very much. i had a question. i'm a republican, and i watch a lot of fox news. host: ok. caller: and bill o'reilly was questioning karl rove a night ago, and got on chris cox's case, and i've always been under the case that chris cox, who was at the time securities and exchange commission, it was his fault these drive activities were being allowed to be traded illegally, and karl corrected bill o'reilly and said, no, you're wrong, congress has taken the responsibility at the time away from the s.e.c. and had given responsibility for going after these people to another -- and
then he gave an acronym, and i never heard the acronym before. does anybody know who was responsible, if it was not chris cox, or was it chris cox that was responsible for going after the people trading in illegal derivatives? that was just a question i had for one of those experts that you had been questioning from the "new york times." host: another piece from the new york teams editorial section this morning, watch this tape is the headline. they say we urge everyone to keep a close eye on this case. if it is handled correctly, it should finally answer the question of whether malfeasance and not merely unbridled greed, incompetence, and weak regulation was also responsible for the financial meltdown. goldman insisted that it was doing -- what it was doing was prudent risk management. in a letter published in its annual report, it argued that "although goldman sachs held various positions in residential mortgage-related products in 2007, our short
positions were not a bet against our clients." the the bank also insists that the investors who bought the structured vehicles were sophisticated professionals who knew what they were doing. back to the phones. another bill, this one on our line for democrats, out of st. louis, missouri. good morning, bill. caller: good morning. it's funny how all of these broge firms -- hello. host: yeah, go ahead. caller: they're all led by who. can you explain that to me? host: i don't think it's correct and we're going to leave that call right there. we're going to take a short break, and when we come back, we're going to be talking with david weigel about the future of the republican party. you're watching the "washington journal." we'll be right back after this break.
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paralleling the future of the republican party. guest: well, there were two rallies here in d.c. there are more than 13 rallies in maryland, multiple rallies in virginia. i seen them as more of the backbone of what the republican party has become. there's some debate in the media about whether or not tea party activists will break off and become a third party. that's not really what tea party activists were talking about on thursday. they were thinking about candidates taking support, talk about democrats taking targets, the tea party express, which is a term started to sort of grab hold of this movement, endorse a slew of candidates and mentioned harry reid, one of the guys it wants to take down. host: but hard-core tea partiers to trying to distance themselves from the republican party. aren't they? guest: well, some are, and it's actually very youthful for republicans to have that going on t. hasn't affected them negatively yet. we're sneeg florida possibly the first example of tea parties really hurting the republican party.
if christie crist decides to start being a republican, that could throw a seat open. other than that, though, they've been, one, filing for office in places that republicans don't often file. there's a town in florida where tea party members were able to win city council seats in the mayor's office. two, they are providing bodies and ammunition politically to help republicans knock on doors, to donate to their campaigns. republicans raised the last four across the country. host: now, tell us a little bit more about the tea party movement in florida and how that's affecting the candidacy of rubio and crist and who is it going to benefit the most. and the person who it benefits, will they acknowledge that it's the tea party that helped them out? guest: well, marco rubio is a republican who's right now ahead in the polls, surging from 40 points back to 20
points up. early on, he went to tea party rallies and adopted them as his base. charlie crist, the governor, supported the stimulus, he was never going to win them over. so the role they're playing is fueling the campaign of raub yo. there's a sense of whether rubio is actually good on their issues, whether he's listening to them, whether he's doing more than paying lip service. but that hasn't really mattered. what's happened is the vast majority of them are volunteering for him, inviting him to events, filling hips events. they are doing it to the point where he's raised three times as much as crist this last quarter. they've just fueled it, much the way if you remember how liberal democrats fueled ned lamont's campaign over joe lieberman. host: and coming into the tea party rally that is we saw here in washington, there have been a couple of rallies that have been attended by sarah palin. what is her influence over the
tea partiers, and might she be able to use that influence to sort of put herself front and center above the other potential candidates in 2012 for the republican party? guest: sarah pal suspect absolutely the most respected politician by the tea party movement. the problem for her as a potential politician is that tea partiers, by and large, don't think she's actually qualified to be president. she thinks she's the best representative of average values, but not that she's ready for that job. i mean, go back to the cbs/"new york times" poll that came out this week, more than 50% of tea party activists had a favorable -- actually i think it was higher than that -- had a favorable opinion of her, but only 40% said she was equiped to become president, 47% said she wasn't. so what can she use this for? for now, she's using it to make $12 million in the year 2009. that's not so bad. she's using it to endorse republican candidates.
i mean, she's helping these people stay within the republican mainstream. host: we're talking with david weigel of "the washington post" about the future of the republican party. if you want to get involved in the conversation, by all means, give us a call. the number is 202-737-0001 for republicans. 202-737-0002 for democrats. and understand penalties, 202-628-0205. if you called us within the last 30 days, today would be the day to send us an email or a message via twitter. and when we press the button and start taking your calls, be sure to turn down your television so we don't get any feedback. before we take the first call, what do you see as the future for republicans on the hill and how much are they going to be able to get back in the house and the senate when voters go to the polls in november? guest: well, they look like they're in a strong position to get 40 seats. that would give them majority back. thee got a couple of opportunities that came out of
almost nowhere. hawaii has a special election where multiple candidates are running, and whoever gets the most votes wins. so because there are two strong democrats, one strong republican, they might pick that up right away. but there's debate over whether or not they peaked early. there's debate over whether or not the victory in january was the high water mark of republican power right now. if we see months and months of economic growth, if we see the obama administration pass bills that are a bit more popular, financial reforms, things like that, some of the people who now are targeted, congressmen in virginia, congressmen in n north carolina, might slip. but right now, most people tell you it looks leak they can i take the house, but not the senate. host: our first call is tom on our line for republicans. good morning, tom. caller: yes. i've got a question for you. "the washington post" is probably one of the most liberal newspapers that has ever been put out, so why would you bring a liberal columnist probably to critique the
republican party? that just doesn't -- that doesn't compute. so this guy is probably, you know, not telling the truth. so why would you do that? host: why would you say he's not telling the truth? caller: he's a "washington post" guy. they hate the republicans. look what they've done to the tea party. they've villainized them. they've called them names in the newspaper. you guys got the -- he calls sarah palin names beyond mention. guest: well, the washington post also has george will, it has kathleen parker, who just won a pulitzer prize as a columnist. speaking for me, i'm a registered republican in d.c. i voted for ron paul in 2008. i came not directly from the washington independent, before that i was a libertarian, so i actually have been covering conservatives as a libertarian for my whole career. also, i mean, "the washington
post" is -- my colleague amy gardner is covering the tea party. she actually rode from north carolina to d.c. to cover the movement. so, i mean, you might see somebody from the paper who makes fun, but my reporting is based completely on conversations i have wr conservatives, with tea party folks, and with republicans. host: david weigel has also written for the "l.a. times," "money," "radar,"ñr time.com, politico, slate, american spectator, and the american prospect. back to the phones. vero beach, florida, on our line for democrats. go ahead. valerie? caller: hello? host: turn down your television. caller: hello? host: yeah. caller: ok. my question is, for your guest is, how -- how do you think that sarah palin would take the republican party, and two, do you think that she has actually
used the republican party and the tea party for national gain? guest: well, it depends what you mean by used. she's made money from her support from tea party activists. she's made millions of dollars where she used to be a working governor with a large family who dent make that much money. she's one of many republican figures, but the most successful republican figure, in making sure they stay very conservative, and punishing any possible, important, compromise to the obama administration. so she was out there defining the healthcare debate. you remember death panels. she was out there saying any healthcare compromise is untenable because it's going to lead to rationing, the death of the elderly. and that was influential for the way all republicans talked about this. you know, she has made sure that the tea party movement is incredibly influential and what the rest of the republican party does. host: next up is our line for
independents out of durham, new york. good morning, ken. caller: good morning, thank you. i'd like to ask mr. weigel if he could possibly wripet for the tea party policy on the current wall street situation. while i'm getting from my observation is that the tea party seems to be a very unfocused group of people who are angry, agents bit of self-pity there. but regardless -- but regardly the specifics of wall street, i hear very little. thank you. host: david buying snell guest: you don't hear many specifics. you hear basically libertarian ideas about how we should really just remove as much regulation as possible. we should let banks and companies that are in trouble fail. the last time i think tea party activists, they weren't tea part activists yet, the last time they were happy with federal government is when it refused to bail out lehman
brothers right before it went in and rescued everybody else. they oppose financial reform as it's constructed by the house and the senate. and one reason is that tea partiers believe in part because a republican has argued this, michelle bachman argues this, the fnds companies would pay into, multibillion dollar fnds, prevent future government bailouts, would be a permanent moral hazard, a permanent bailout, and they really think the obama administration designs are, you have what bachmann called a bailout nation, the government is always coming in to take over companies. so they oppose this. what they favor is something extremely free market, extremely libertarian. host: you recently wrote a blog regarding the contest in kentucky for the senate seat there between rand paul and trey grayson. who has the momentum? guest: rand paul has the
momentum, grandson of ron paul. he helped his father out, but he's never run for anything. he got into this race first, and he just plugged in and plugged into the power of the tea party activists. so he's gotten -- depending on what poll you use, either a small lead -- or a 15-point lead over the secretary of state, and grayson is just not he will fective. he would have won any other year against somebody like rand, but paul has slightly more money as they go into the primary on the 18th. paul has, in defining the debate by saying majoring an issue by saying palin wasn't qualified to be president. .
i am so fired up, i haven't even slept at night. host: you sound fired up. is there a problem with tea partiers associating themselves with the republican party or vice versa down there in georgia, or do they like to try to keep things separate? caller: dr. john williams has his physics and his wife has her masters. these people are fired up and they are joining with the republicans, just like in florida and in kentucky and here in georgia. and i want to predict on this show, i think john graves of georgia will be president. host: ok. guest: i don't know much about this race, but you're telling me about one of many candidates i've seen who would not have
put together a winning coalition this year but are able to do so because of these thousands of activists who are just fired up to anyone they think can stop what the drks are doing -- democrats are doing. host: next up, pam on our line for democrats. caller: good morning, gentlemen. i have one question. when i hear people like michelle backman say that we have a gangster government and we want our country back, it doesn't give me a very good impression of the tea partiers. i feel kind of bad for the republicans who are taking the brunt of some of this. that's all. thanks a lot. host: david. guest: well, balkman i think is the most influential in the movement. i know palin gets a lot of
credit. so things she says like that, she doesn't say in isolation. i've heard over republicans refer to this as a gangster government. she means both obama administration chicago ties corrupt everything it does, and it's government inteasting in taking over everything. her rhetoric is harsh but one mistake i think democrats make is pointing and screaming at how loud her rhetoric is. you need to go into what she's saying and maybe prove her wrong. because some of the arguments she makes about financial reform are not correct. but her rhetoric is paid too much attention to. get beyond what she's saying and i think democrats have more luck. host: do you think the gangster word that she used was some sort of a half hearted attempt to try to get hip-hop on us? guest: well, that worked really
well for michael steele. i think -- i don't read a lot more into what she says. this is a term you'll hear a lot of libertarian economists use. and she has been influenced in the house. she has been influenced by ron paul. guys like tom woods. just libertarians who really are very, very blunt about how they think the federal reserve is basically illegal, that it's corrupted everything. and that all these actions of the government are gangsters. i think she's using a term. she has a way of picking up a term and throwing it at the wall and everyone making fun of her. but she's picking up a term that is resonating with a lot of people. host: next, sarasota, independent. caller: good morning c-span. i'm a practicing conservative down here in florida. i go to work and i pay my taxes. and i believe in personal
responsibility. and i would like the government to be smaller, but i do want to say a couple things about the marco rubio and charlie crisp. correct me if i'm wrong with marco rubio is the leader of the senate in florida, heavily republican. doesn't work across the aisle with democratses? do we really want just another no vote up in washington, someone that's going to toe the party line and not really work across the aisle? or do we want somebody that's going to work across the aisle to have the government work for the people? because if you think the government is working great right now, vote for rubio. and if you don't think the government is working good and we need to work together, then vote for charlie crist. and correct me if i'm wrong about rubio. guest: he was the speaker of
the house, not in the senate. and i mean, his record in office has had almost nothing to do with his campaign. his campaign is promising to do what you're just talking about, if elected he will vote against everything the obama administration does. he will stand up to it. he will try and filibuster everything. in that he is not really unique. you're making a good point here. one the democrats make to me a lot. sort of plaintiffly, sort of whining about their situation, they want voters to understand that when things don't get done it's because 40 republicans plus one slow everything down and won't let it pass. this is something, because rubio is running in a republican primary and the only people he has to appeal to is staunch conservatives, he has not talked a lot on what he might compromise on. scott brown talks about this and you've seen him vote with democrats on a few pieces of legislation. rubio has never really pressed
on. i would like to see the questions he gets on this. host: joian on the line for republicans. i think i pressed the wrong button. joe-ann. caller: hello. is that enough that the republican party that the republican party has been high jacked by the neo cons. i reregistered as a republican when ron paul was running and it kind of cringed to do that. but now the tea party movement, which is a total ron paul movement for libertarians and libertarian republicans have been hiejaked again by the neo cons. the only viable candidate speem like ron paul and other ones that are running now which i'm really backing and here in california there's a few good ones. and if not, i'm voting libertarian. ron paul has, he doesn't cow
down to lobbyists and he is not bought off by apac. and i stand right on foreign policy and that's what's high jacking our country. guest: paul was at the thursday tea party in d.c. paul's movement start add lot of the icons and a lot of ideas of the tea party movement but you're right. without agreeing with you on everything, you're right that the more foreign policy neo conservatives in the republican party make up most of this movement. two years ago people ron paul supporters who opposed bases overseas, foreign aid, right now they were sara palin supporters. and there's a debate happening in the tea party movement. the neo conservatives have the upper hand. the paul people don't have the advantage. but there is a debate whether
or not we get back to the constitutional government that means kind of a manifesto strength everywhere or that means pulling back. right now the people who want blaces in as many countries as possible, long-term commitments are the ones running this movement. and for someone like yourself, for ron paul too i can see how that's irritating. host: in the "wall street journal" this morning, this article republican party hits stride in campaign funding, tell us about where their money is coming from, how it compares with the democrats, and where are they spending it? guest: they're raising more money than the democrats largely from online funding. the democrats party have come under fire for wasting money and for holding lavish events. and that doesn't matter as much as it used to because conservative donors can go on line, they can hear about somebody on glenn beck, on a
blog or twitor and give directly. and that's how marco rubio was able to raise his money. the republican governor association is the national committee that's got the most right now. hailey bar ber runs that. so they're getting ready to win as many governorships as possible. the committees that run house and senate races are a little bit strained. they have such large playing fields that they're not sure that they themselves can fund all these things. but what i'm hearing is that republicans in d.c. whose job it is to get more people to run are talking to like the club for growth, talking to other conservative donors that can fill this gap. and saying if your candidate comes in that we'll find a way to get you funded. host: next up, donna on our line for democrats. welcome to the washington journal. caller: good morning. my gosh, it's taken me over a year to get through.
host: congratulations. what's your question or comments? caller: well, i have two comments. the media on this, the media is keeping this hush hush. the democrats are trying to get a regulation bill on the banks and mccallen of kentucky, the republican and congressman boehner, a republican congressman, went to the bank and asked them how they could help them. and if they'll pay them so much money, then they'll kill the bill or have a flil buster and the media is keeping this hush-hush. host: you mean this story that was in the "washington post" financial section this morning, digging in on financial regulations? caller: well, i heard this on the news yesterday. host: is this the one that the media is keeping hush-hush?
caller: well, i don't know. i haven't heard it on the media on tv any more. you know. but this is -- this statement, i mean, the republicans feel as though the government is too big. and if they get in, they'll kill all the programs including social security and medicare just like bush tried to do. host: thanks for your call. i think you're going to hear more reporting about what you just talked about. honestly everyone was so businessy on health care and then financial regulation reform has geared up slowly and is in full force now. what you talked about, that is happening in the sense that republicans may have made it known to the financial industry that they're on their side versus some of these regulations democrats want. they have messaged this. i mentioned before frank lunts, a republican pollster.
late last year he produced a membero with how republican ks define any sort of financial reform on voters not as a punishment on banks but to create permanent bailouts, to make the government permanently involved. so republicans are aware that what they would like to do in stopping reform is not actually that popular. most people want some kind of reform. they're just trying to find a way to stop it while sounding like poll lists. and i think the more coverage there is, the more traps there are going to be for republicans as they argue that. host: next up, charlie in florida on our line for independents. caller: yes. thanks for taking my call. there seems to be this unwritten law when it comes to politics, and that is it's not the quality of the product that matters as much as it is how well you spell it. and it seems to me that since the stock market crash of 1929,
the republican party has really lived by this unwritten law because they seem to have -- they market these ideals and they claim to be all of these things, like they claim to be the party of moral value, they claim to be the party of fiscal conservetivism, and all of these things. but when you break it down and when you get bast -- passed all the ideology, you real lies that these people, once they're elected, they end up doing the very things that they criticized the democrats and other parties of doing. and to me, it just seems to come back to this ideal, this notion that when you -- the republican party, when all is said and done, it seems to me
like they're just fighting for their relevance. host: do you think that the republicans or that the democrats don't have their own agenda to sell or that they're just not selling it as well as the republicans? caller: well, the democrats have an agenda. no two ways about it. every political party that bants to remain vell vanity will have some kind of an agenda. but the point is the democrats, if you compared track records, the democrats seem to actually show more concern for the american people when all is said and done. host: we'll leave it there. guest: republicans just have a different view of what government can do to make americans more prosperous. it goes back to the 1929 depression. a really popular book in republican circles for a moment is called the forgotten man. and historians of the great depression criticize this. the federal reserve chairman.
but the argument is government intervention, one because it's sloppy, two because it never worked, lengthened the crisis. the arguments about the welfare state, helping people with unemployment benefits, for example, makes it -- makes them less inclined to go out and find jobs. these are all -- i mean, this is something democrats should understand debating republicans. all these ideas come from a position of thinking that the smallest possible government is going to benefit this. i think the correct criticism to make is that in power they end up making compromises with industry, they make compromises on things like medicare part d, things they think are popular to voters that they don't really support. so when they don't actually back up this free market rhetoric, that's what they end up breaking their promises. tea 35r9y activists have challenged that, democrats have challenged that.
republicans realize it's a problem. i think they're better off to stick to their first principles of government. host: next, good morning. caller: good morning. i've been a registered republican since about 2002. i worked on wall street until about two weeks before 9/11 and on 9/11 i was in the unemployment office fortunately up here in west chester. now i work in the poorest part of the south bronx as a teacher because i got tired of traveling around the country for a big bank. so i've seen both sides of what's going on. and i have to very much agree with what the writer from the "washington post" is saying about what republicans do once they get into power. but i would disagree on the motives. i think that most republicans certainly in power have always believed that sincerely in a way in a trickle-down theory that the best thing to do is to make it easy for rich people and corporations to make money.
that's why the most egregious example is the bush tax cuts that were funded with this huge deficit. i don't want to get into the issues. everybody's done a good job about talking about it. i teach history now and i tell the kids that the number one interest of any politician is being elected in the next election. and of course, with our system of the people's house running every two years we really see that. and i would like to see a real multi-party system because i believe in the constitution and as you know the people who wrote it were bitterly opposed to party. do you think there's any chance of a real multi-party coming out in sometime in the number of years where a third or foushtsdz party would have any kind of real political power? guest: the problem with that happening is that whoever gets the most votes within. and you have situations, like i mentioned hawaii before where most voters want a progressive candidate. democrats are polling them, 60
odd%, republicans are 30. but the republican has a chance to win because he is going to get -- he might get a plurality of the vote. and that's the problem every time a third party -- actually not even strong. if a third party is 10%, it can split the vote and make an electorate that want a particular conservative policy, for example, elect a democrat. so you need some cities have started to do this in the races for mayor for local elections. you need a system where everyone can rank their choices. australia has a good system for this. you vote for your second choice and then your second round you choose one of the two big parties basically. where is the motivation for that to happen on a larger scale? it's not from one of the two parties. the only way that happens is let's say the tea party movement, because that's the strongest now, becomes a real threat in election after election of republicans. you might see republicans say it's in our interest to make
sure that there's ranked voting. democrats didn't get very close to this after ralph nader's presidential run but some of the impetus for this to happen happened after that. if we can make sure that progressive voters don't waste their votes and let somebody else in, maybe we can get guys we want every time. so it's a ways off. it needs the parties to fail and get damaged by third parties multiple times for a real discussion to happen. host: former president clinton gave a speech yesterday at the center for american progress talking about the destruction of the federal building in oklahoma city 15 years ago. it's the 15-year anniversary. and it was reported, out of politico, that the president talked about legitimate comparisons can be drawn between today's grass roots anger and the --
what happened then. >> before the bombing occurred there was sort of a fever in america in the early 19920s. first, -- 1990s. first, it was a time like now of dramatic upheavel. a lot of old arrangements had changed. the things that anchored people's lifer lives and gave certainty to them had been unraveling. some of them by then for 20 years. median family income began to stagnate and inequality in our country began to increase going back in the early 1970s when we went off the gold standard and developed a global system before we had any kind of system or response to it. and there were huge numbers of
americans who were working longer hours for lower incomes. more and more families under enormous economic stress. meanwhile, the fabric of american life had been unraveling. host: david, do you think that the issues that the former president was talking about are going to have any kind of a dems strable effect on the election in 2010, in november? guest: it wouldn't have an immediate effect but the most telling thing was conservatives didn't jump out to denounce him. this is a story that's better if it goes away because in 1995 when this happened, republicans had taken over the house, it had been three months. bill clinton was weakened. he was able to shift the discussion from what republicans were doing politically to the idea that the republican takeover amounted to what he just talked about there, to far-out extreme
anti-government behavior and it actually i think it did change the discussion in america. there was very far out conspirtorle stuff that republicans were indulging about wut going into every scandal and everything they brought up. and that simrd down. it was something you can talk about less. democrats want to have this discussion about how things are getting out of hand. rachel meadow is hosting a show about tim mcvay, longer than usual special. and i think, again, republicans would rather this is a discussion that liberals have that goes on than something they engage in and talk about because it is not good for them when the conversation shifts to whether they're sort of criticism of the government is equi lent to violent radical criticism and violence against the government. host: back to the phones. maryland on our line for
democrats. go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have a quick comment and a question. you said that plfpltlunts created some arguments. those aren't arguments. those are talking points. it's words to use, words to work. so we know those are talking points, not arguments. but my question is why do the pundits and analysts and news hosts say americans believe or the public believe and we know you've only polled up to a thousand people of a certain demographic makeup? so they need to stop reading these polls as if they polled all americans. we know that they haven't. they're false. they're fake. thank you. guest: i think not all polls are created equally. one thing we do at the post that is different than some places i work is that we like to go back and check with our own methods before any poll that comes out. there are a lot of pollster
that is have arisen in the last two years. rassmusen surveys that do auto fole polling. but that gets reported everywhere and it can lead a broadcast and shape a conversation for a few hours. whether or not somebody is doing really well. i like scott rassmusen i like the rassmusen reports. but there isn't enough criticism and skepticism of all the data that we get. people seem to go into a tizzy that they see any data at all to hook a story to. so i think it's fair to talk about polls, but there should be and i try to exercise what is good data and what is not. host: former governor tacky has a new group revere america.org to try to repeal the health care law. your thoughts on the governor not running for the new york senate and whether or not he's trying to sethills up for a run
at the white house? . guest: every governor who has an interest is going to explore. a lot of people think he has what america wants in a president right now. he has good republican connections. he's the governor of mississippi. he has good republican connections. he knows all the right people and he can make the argument that people are going to be opposite of barack obama. something a southern governor with -- with great connections with former lobbying ties. in his case he explored in 2008 but rudy giuliani was already running. he is out now. and maybe he believed that what people want is an old tested hand from the northeast that he can make this argument to republicans. i don't think, knowing the republican base in the states that vote in early primaries it's credible. but anyone who has ambition of running for presidents or who wants to restart their career as a public speaker or autsdz senior going to look into this. host: next up, richard on our
line for independents out of lake plassyid. good morning. caller: good morning. we have to remember, the third party is great. president clinton was elected twice without a majority vote. you've got like 42% of the vote the first time and 49% of the vote the second time. i left the republican party when mccain became the candidate of the republicans. i never considered john mccain a conservative. and the other bills that he sponsored, both of them flopped. you know. as far as the tea party goes, the number one priority i believe is stop spending. reduce taxes. make government smaller. and repeal health care. president obama, let's face it,
we didn't know hardly anything about obama when he became the candidate. and the media was very good at hiding a lot of things that would have probably turned people off. afterwards, the media, then they went out and put a disclaimer, we don't know abc, cbs, that they didn't know anything about this man hardly. they needed to know more about him. now we've found out i think he as very scary president, i think we're going in the wrong direction, i think that we need to repeal the health care and possibly before it's all over we might even be looking at impeaching. host: we'll leave it there, richard. guest: i don't know what you would impeach obama for. i don't. i wish we could avoid having that discussion about every president but i guess we're going to. i challenge some of this. i think it's useful for
republicans to talk about how much more radical obama is than what he ran on. and on taxes and spending, indeed he used ronald reagan rhetoric that democrats can't back up. it would have been better if he said honestly, i am a social democrat who wants everyone to pay in a little bit more in order to have better services, in order to have universal health care. if you read between the lines, it's what he is saying. but he would couple it with, and you won't pay more taxes if you make under $2500,000. on the rest of it, -- $200,000. you were talking about things we didn't know about him. but this is a guy who appointed tim geithner, paul volker, beyond the republicans, he's got basically a neo liberal economic team that want to keach as much of the way
america works as possible rather than replace it with a radical regime. it's fun to talk about health care is a takeover of the economy. but the main structure of it is things republicans wanted to do and the heritage foundation even was suggesting people could do. mitt romney appruchedef proved a compromise much like this in massachusetts and many say he's not a real conservetive. but this is something when it was a little less easy to attack the president, people talked about a way responsibility based nonsocialist way to cover all americans. i mean, i think obama, you're right that he wasn't honest about everything he campaigned on but he has been far less radical than he is portrayed by political rhetoric. host: let's take this last call from ohio. ed on our line for republicans. go ahead. caller: thank you. three years ago, at age 68 i finally decided to join a party, the republican party.
and if you really believe in the party, either democrats or republican in the real big leagues, you believe in socialism 101. a question for you, sir, have you ever read a history book editted and written before 1920? now, second. the only form of government mentioned by george washington in his inaugural address and the only former government mentioned in our constitution is a republican former government. now, this is defined by patrick henry, webster, benjamin rush, other founders of this country. now, benjamin rush is we profess to be republicans and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpttuting our republican forms of government. that is the universal education of our youth in the principles of christianity by means of the bible. host: we'll leave thrit. guest: i've read some history
that was written before 1920. i think there's -- what you are talking about is pretty hard to disagree with that more people should be educated about the history of this country and about the republic. because if you're not that well educated, you end up being informed by either media figures who are figuring this out ad hoc or by politicians who have a version of history that might not be true. liberals give this to us about the new deal, conservatives about ronald reagan's record. i don't think you need to reach that far back in the past. you need to have more credible information and people at all levels learning have more credible information about why we're in the mess we're in. there's sometimes a straight story son everyone agrees with. but on economics and the things that affect policy there are debates. and the education you're talking about should be about
the size of this debate, figuring out once again who is right on this. i mean, the great depression happened after the period you talked to but it's very useful if every american had a take on the great depression and read economics to figure out why that happened. they would have so much more information about the problems woor in now than if they just listened to talk radio hosts or liberal hosts who make fun of one party or the other. host: thank you for coming on the washington journal this morning. guest: thank you. host: we're going do take a short break. when we come back we'll talk about the revolving door in the financial services industry with craig holman. we'll be right back. >> we recently asked students to give us a five-minute video.
today we talked to carl col glazer from north carolina. hello and welcome to c-span. >> thank you. >> glangeses on your win. >> thank you. >> what is your video about? >> my video is basically about two different technologies and waste disposal. i go over insin ration, and the technology most people haven't heard about. >> tell us, why did you pick this up? >> this wasn't my original subject. my original subject was oil dependence. but while i was doing my documenty i found out about plazz mick education and i thought that would make a good solution because you could make ethanol and hydrogen and such. i thought that would be a good alternative to folve fuel. so when i was doing research, i thought, there's a lot of great technologies in waste disposal.
this would make a good topic. >> tell us how some of these processes work. >> first, there's land fill wells which are basically putting down wells into inland and it's taking the meth yain gas that this trash is giving off and it's using that and converting that into energy. it's like natural gas basically. and so that's great except for all the soleds of course are still being wasted. and it doesn't get a huge amount of energy out of land fills. and there's another one i went over called insin ration. most people are familiar with it but most people believe that's just burning trash. which it isn't. they take the ash and they use that to make energy and they clean all the emissions before they loose it up. but it is basically it's not
the most efficient form of waste disposal. and then there's plasma ark application which is a pretty complicated process which basically uses a plasma generator and it breaks up the waste into its molecklar bonds, puts it back into its basic elements and it gives off a few different products. it gives off something called flag, which is basically all the metals, it gist off something called sin gas, which is a synthetic gas which can be turned into hydrogen and ethanol and then something very similar to obsidion. and that can be used as an aggregate to roads and a few other things. >> what was the most difficult part? >> every single piece of my of
the stuff i was using to make it was either borrowed or was a trial version or was freeware. so it -- i had to learn a lot of videoing stuff. this is my first extensive video edditting project really and i had to learn a lot about how to do this stuff. some of the hardest stuff was basically whenever i made a mistake, it took me hours to fix it. so i was actually tup night before the due date up to like i believe 2:00 in the morning getting my video done. so that was definitely the hardest part. >> congratulations once again. what do you plan on doing with the money? >> first, i plan to tithe 10% of it to my church and some other charities. then i also plan to use much of it to get some good video equipment. >> carl, thanks for joining us today. >> thank you. >> let's watch a little bit of carl's video, wasting waste.
>> representative is talking about technology called plasma ark gasification. i am interviewing the president and chief executive officer which at this company which uses this technology. >> as you can see, carl's entire documenty and other winning videos any time. just go to student cam.org. host: craig holman is with public citizen and here to talk with us about revolving door and financial sersvisses and some of the law makers, at least 70 former law makers of
congress who are now lobbying. what's wrong with that? guest: the revolving door is one of the most pernicious and effective means of influence peddling on capitol hill. if i can provide a little background. what the revolving door constitutes, the revolving door spins two ways. first, the most prevalent way is when former government officials leave office, leave public office and then take a job as a lobbyist for the exact same corporations or special interests that had business pending before them when they were in office. the second form of the revolving door is what we call the reverse revolving door. and that's when you get these same corporations essentially trying to capture the government itself by getting their lobbyists or c.e.o.s appointed to the same federal agencies that have regulatory authority over them. you put these two together and what you're seeing is a close
meshing of the corporations and special interests that want something from government with the same government that's overseeing them. that's the problem. there are three major problems going on here. with the regular revolving door, one of the biggest problems is you have to wonder about the integrity of the public policies that come out of people that are looking to get a lucrative lobbying job afterwards from the same companies. are they in fact making these decisions in the public interests or are they trying to favor a company in the hope of getting a very, very high paying lobbying job right afterwards? secondly, those who then spin through the revolving door and take those lucrative lobbying jobs essentially they're cashing in on their public networks. they develop a system of knowing the friends within government, knowing what makes them think, knowing who is actually calling the shots. and what sort of appeals, do
appeal to them to become effective. so these people are exceedingly valuable as lobbyists for companies because basically a company that can afford to hire one of these insiders has their foot right in the door. they've got a seat at the table. as a result, by the way, you know, when someone moves from the public sector to become a lobbyist it's a very, very well paying job for a congressional senior staffer, the salary ranges between $300,000 and $600,000 a year. for a former member of congress i've seen the salary range go from $1 million to $3 million a year. that's how valuable these people are to these same corporations that are trying to influence public policy. >> is the revolving door more prevalent in the financial industry than it is in any other industry? say, for example, men and women that work in the military that wear the uniform for 25 years and get out of the military and
then go and work and lobby for military industrial type companies. is it more prevalent in financial than it is in other places? and why would there be so much focus on financial versus other revolving door people military, pharmaceuticals, medical? >> well, the revolving door is prevalent in all branches. however i do want to emphasize we have been able to track the revolving door spinning completely out of control when it comes to financial sersvisses. it is more prevalent in the financial services debate than i have ever seen before any other debate before congress. i've been able to track 940 lobbyists for the financial services industry today who came from somewhere in the federal government. they either came from the executive branch, or they are former congressional staffers or member of congresses.
out of 940 of these employees, who are former public officials, 70 of them, as you pointed out, were former members of congress. now, in 2009 just last year, there were 150 former members of congress who were registered lobbyists. so we're talking about the financial sersvisses industry has essential bought half of them to work on behalf of wall street. you know, the second biggest sector that we saw was recently with the health care debate. and there, we were able to document about 350 former public officials who have spun through the revolving door and signed on with lubetive lobbying contracts. it's completely out of control with the financial services sector. and the by the way, the reason is that's where the money is. these people are expensive. if you're going to put out $3 million for a former member of congress, you know, you're not going to find any citizens groups that can afford to hire
them as their lobbyists. the only people who can afford that are the people who have a lot of money to throw around. and we're talking in this case wall street. >> is there anything in the pipeline on the hill, any legislation that may sort of slow this revolving door syndrome down or eliminate it altogether? and can you even do that legally? guest: there actually is a great deal of effort going on for quite some time. you know, i want to emphasize the roll that president obama has taken in trying to slow this revolving door. on day one, when obama stepped into the white house, he issued an executive order that addressed both types of this revolving door. no other administration has ever done this in the u.s. or in europe for that matter. and what obama's executive order decreed is, first of all, anyone who leaves the obama administration cannot sign on
as a lobbyist and lobby that administration for the entire duration of the obama administration. which could be eight years. i expect will be eight years. and he also for the very first time addressed the reverse revolving door. obama has set up a conflict of interest standard in which any presidential appointee has to go through an extense scombrive view process, identify who they may have lob yid for previously or who their former clients are. and they are generally prohibited from being appointed to any position within the administration if they were a localist who lobbied that administration. as a result, out of the 3,000 presidential appointees that obama has made, only 24 were registered lobbyists. compare that with the hundreds and hundreds that have been brought in by the bush administration, by the clinton administration, and every administration beforehand to senior administration post
business the way, too. however, having praised what obama is doing, obama has appropriately addressed the revolving door issue for the executive branch, this is not the case when it comes to congress. when it comes to congress, the restrictions are very meager and easily evaded and as woor seeing currently in the whole financial services debate just completely out of control. host: we're talking with craig holman of public citizen, their legislative representative about the revolving door in the financial services industry. people working in congress and then go work in the private sector. we want to get your thoughts. the numbers are on the bottom of your screen. our first call, cheryl on the
line for independents. caller: good morning. i'm a little nervous. i haven't called in a while. my question actually was that does he believe that it's because, it's exactly because of the lobbyists entrenched in the government that's the reason why we haven't had financial reform when there was a call for it after the crash, after the initial crash, the real estate bubble, everything that's gone wrong they always call for reform but it never materialized and it still hasn't. even if you look at the financial sector, ok, wall street's going back now, but we haven't addressed the issues that made it crash initially. guest: the short answer is yes. the longer answer is it's a repeat. this revolving door abuse is the most effective means for special interests and corporations and business interests to try to get a control over public policies.
why has the federal government not yet responded to this huge huge economic crisis that we've had that wall street did essentially unilaterally? and that is because of those 940 federal employees that wall street has hired to represent them. yes, it's very effective at slowing down any reform, perhaps stopping the reform. this is the biggest tool that wall street has for influence peddling here on capitol hill. host: mark on the line for republicans. criveragetsdzgork. i caller: i agree with your guest whole matteredly. the obama administration has definitely doubled back on their pledge to control this issue. if you look at articles, you'll see this quite clearly that they hired a lot of lobbyists out of industry.
check your facts. you'll see that it's not quite true. the second thing i wanted to point out goldman sachs and how they are controlling not even just the u.s. government financial regulatory decisions but also worldwide and how they're doing that is quite interesting being fairly small company they have certainly degree of secrecy that they can do more than at jp morgan chase or larger institutions. so it's kind of an interesting story that i think people -- host: thanks for your call. guest: it is 24 lobbyists that the obama administration has appointed out of the 3,000 presidential appointees. and by the way, only three of those had any serious conflicts of interest. most of those appointed were appointed to positions in federal agency that is they never lobbied. three of them did have that conflict of interest and were granted waivers. so this -- and i do want to
emphasize, no administration ever before has made any kind of effort to the do this type of conflict of interest. so obama needs credit there. when it comes to goldman sachs, goldman sachs has had their hands in the middle of everything when it comes to financial policy from the federal government. beginning with the appointment of henry paulson to become the treasury secretary, you know, originally under the bush administration, right down to today we've identified that goldman sachs has employed 33 former government officials as their lobbyists that are out there on capitol hill right now. host: next up, dallas texas. on our line for democrats. caller: good morning. if i'm not mistaken, wasn't there a law passed that the politicians had to wait so many years before they become a
lobbyist? and let me ask this. is it the reason why the medical field -- i'm not blaming the doctors but the ones that produced the pills and things, can advertise pills that can cause death, suicide, vomiting, a heart problems, and it's just government for the people, by the people, or are they for big business? because this is a damn shame. thank you. and have a good day. guest: there are some laws that apply to congress. and originally began with the ethics and government act in 1978. what it established is what's called a one-year cooling off period for a member of congress to actually make a lobbying communication to his or her former colleagues in congress. now, that just means picking up the telephone and calling your former colleagues that's banned for one year. what these former colleagues --
former members of congress can do and senior congressional staffers is immediately be hired as a lobbyist for a lobbying firm, conduct the entire lobbying campaign, do all the strategizing and then just hand the telephone over to another colleague to make the phone call. and that's just a one-year restriction. we tried toughning this law in 2007 under the honest leadership and open government act. this was the most sweeping ethics and lobbying reform restrictions that we've seen ever since the original lobby disclosure act. however, the one thing we could not get properly addressed in it was the revolving door. we had some key congressional leaders, senator russ feingold from wisconsin and at that time senator barack obama as well as representative marty meehan were leading the charge to try to strengthen the revolving door. we had a good, good provision written in the original drafts of it that would have extended
the cooling off period to two years and included lobbying activities, strategizing, the whole works as part of the ban within that two-year period. however, in the very end, even though we had the democratic leadership like nancy pelosi and harry reid behind it and all the freshmen members of congress supporting it, we had that middle lay irof congress, committee chairmen, who were just probably looking for that lubetive retirement slot coming up short thri who refused to accept any further restrictions on the revolving door. >> ohio, on our line for republicans. you're on the washington journal. caller: good morning. first-time caller. first, i want to make a statement as far as today there's -- our justice system is completely broke. nobody goes to prison, nobody pays a pice for illegal acts. they get laws changed by congress so that they can
commit their illegal acts. and that's our biggest problem. my second thing i would like to talk about is that i've read, don't know how true it is, but goldman saction and a lot of goldman saction employees who make outrageous sums of money were large contributors to barack obama. i'm not like picking on any president. i just say the whole system has become so corrupt that there's actually no justice left in america. at least for the wealthy. a poor man goes steals a loaf of bread and they want to throw him in prison. host: do you have anything to say on the revolving door? caller: it has to be stopped. we all probably know that. they have bought the house, they bought the senate. and we're just sitting here paying all the bills for the financial services. host: we'll leave it there. craig, in a report that was published by a public citizen,
they talked about the financial industry having employed 70 former members of congress. you talked about that. nearly half of the 150 former members who have reported lobbying in 2009. these include former speaker of the house dennis hastert, former majority leader and presidential nominee bob dole, former leader trent lot, former house majority leaders dick armie and dick gephart and former appropriations chairman bob livingston, bill thomas, former representative ben weber. boast the most financial sector clients with 11 among former members of congress. then it goes ok to talk about the lobbying efforts of former financial services committee chairman michael oxley who is one of the co-authors of the sarbanes oxley act. was there not anything in sarbanes oxley that would have prevented this revolving door?
guest: nothing that addressed the revolving door. host: because it wasn't a big issue or because they wanted to go out there and find jobs? guest: judging from my experience in 2007 with that honest leadership and open government act, members of congress really don't want to close the revolving door. when it comes to who benefits, it's mostly the business interests and corporations. but these guys look at a retirement salary of $1 million to $3 million as soon as they step off capitol hill. so that's really the biggest resistance to closing down this revolvor door. and by the way, that list of lobbyists that you just cited that's quite a formidable army. and you can see white why it's so difficult to try to take on wall street. host: next up, washington, d.c., royce on our line for
democrats. good morning, rice. caller: good morning. i just want to thank c-span for giving the ordinary man the voice to speak. i just want to thank craig holman for giving the facts that obama actually addressed the revolving door. you know, and one more thing. i want to say, i don't understand why these tea parties have all these anger and hate. obama has actually reduced taxes in his administration better than bush did. host: all right, royce. we're getting a little off track there. caller: well, let me add a little bit else about this. within the obama administration, he actually set up an office for the first time ever to specifically address ethics and these lobby reforms. and he put in that office a very, very competent person
named normizen who firmly believes in these types of revolving door restrictions and these types of ethics and restrictions. and it's been a pleasure being able to work with norm inesance office in trying to implement these restrictions. host: next up, colorado, on our line for independents. go ahead. caller: good morning. i was just wondering, if we phrase things in an appropriate manner we can get more appropriate response. so if we were to look upon this and phrase it as a form of terrorism within our own government system, i believe that we could go ahead and have better legislation passed, and in a lot more timely manner. i just don't understand that if we just don't phrase things correctly we can't get the response and the action that is are needed. host: why would you call this a form of terrorism? caller: well, if you look at it
in the aspects that it is actually affecting our form of government and the way that they can go ahead and dictate what is wanted not by the people but by a corporation, which unfortunately corporate america is what's dominating the policies of our country. host: craig, is this a form of terrorism? guest: well, i wouldn't use terrorism in light of this. but i would call it a very corrupting influence and something that undermines the democrat dwrick system. you know, i would reserve the term terrorism where it really is due. however, this is a major problem. this is something that has enabled the very wealthy corporations of special interests to dominate the federal government for centuries. and it is something that we have not yet squarely dealt with. . .
or illustrating who was going to get the money as the counter party to the a.i.g. fiasco? i'll wait for your answer. thanks so much. guest: lobbyists have been involved in the entire process, including the meltdown of wall street. it is lobbyists who contributed to softening the regulations that governed wall street. it is lobbyists who were instrumental in manipulating the federal government policy, as well as the regulatory agencies and how these regulatory agencies would address the issues, such as the credit swaps. yes, lobbyists are to be held largely responsible for this. they're the ones who are representing business interests. you know, by the way, i want to add, i'm a lobbyist. i am a registered lobbyist so. it isn't that i'm opposed to lobbyists per se, but i do want to highlight the problem going on here.
lobbyists will be hired guns for the usually wealthy special interests, and yet they are intimately involved in this. i want to add one more note about a.i.g. when a.i.g. was one of the first major recipients of the bailout funds, of tarp, you know, it had continued its lobbying shop for a short while. public citizen was in the lead demanding that a.i.g. shut down its lobbying operations as long as it was primarily owned by the public. it made no sense that a public entity would pursue a lobbyists to pursue special interests. and we were able to shut down much of a.i.g.'s lobbying activities. however, none of the other tarp recipients followed suit. host: before going to public citizen, craig holman was a senior policy analyst with the benden center for justice at new york university school of law. he also assisted in drafting campaign reform legislation and
was the author and co-author of several studying on campaign finance and the initiative process, as well as on lobbying reform. back to the phones. long island, david -- i'm sorry, anthony on our line for democrats. go ahead. caller: good morning, gentlemen. you know, this is a great topic, and i do believe c-span could probably spend all three hours this morning or any morning about this. let's use dick cheney as an example for someone who basically resigned as c.e.o. of a company that did a lot of business before our government, came into office, and then used his power to manipulate certain aspects of our government to bring down the largest military industrial complex on a country called iraq that did nothing to us but comply with 12 years of sanctions and governmental influckses upon those people. i mean, we did everything possible to spy on them, disarm them, and then the guy brought us to war. i mean, that's such a major
conflict of interest, and it seems as though this is the primary reason why they're willing to spend a billion dollars to get elect to an office, so they can undermine any government oversight of their activities, whether they be legal or otherwise. host: craig holman? guest: yes, you are reiterating the problem here with what we call the reverse revolving door. by the way, it is not limited to elected officials. what most of these corporations will do is finance the campaigns of elected officials and then, once they get them elected, expect them to appoint c.e.o. or the lobbyists of the corporation to head the same regulatory agency that oversees the company. that's the reverse resolving door. again, it's been effectively stopped under the obama administration.
but this is the first time ever we've seen any administration make an effort to try to rein in this type of conflict of interest. host: can you give us a specific example of this reverse revolving door? guest: sure. for instance, jay stephen grouse, under the bush administration, jay stephen grouse was a lobbyist for the mining interest, and bush appointed him as deputy secretary of the interior department. so there you've got the mining interests taking over the interior department. and jay steven grouse delivered what the mining interests expected from interior. i mean, examples are countless, you know, talk about henry paulson being disappointed as treasury secretary. you know, the guy comes from goldman sachs. the examples are unlimited. host: deer park, washington. joshua on our line for independents, good morning. caller: good morning, gentlemen. i'd like to ask mr. holman a personal question.
did you ever work a real job outside of academia or government? guest: academia and now a lobbyist. caller: you've never worked a real job? you've never thrown garbage in a truck or bagged groceries or anything? guest: no. i consider being, you know, an academic also a real job. caller: so your entire life you've never had a real job? host: what's your point? caller: just curious. i just listen to these people. when harry truman left the white house, he drove his wife back to month by himself. at times he was asked by corporations to go to work for the corporations, and his response was, gentlemen, it's not this old job want, it's the office of the presidency, and i don't own it to sell you. the juxtaposition to today is we're looking at the fall of the roman empire. we are so crippled. gentlemen, you have no idea about the anxiety out here. host: thank you. thanks for your call. danny on our line for
republicans in seattle, go ahead. caller: hi. i'm calling from seattle, washington, and i'd just like to say the prior caller who talked about iraq, he's right. we squandered all these billions of dollars over there, but it was for the kinds -- host: thanks for the call. we're going to move on to middletown, connecticut. mary on our line for democrats. you want to talk about the resolving door in the financial services industry? mary? caller: yes, thank you. there's a revolving door problem between big organizations and politicians, not just on wall street. for example, it james wolsee, former c.i.a. director, he became a stock holder and spokesman for kellogg, brown & root, a subsidiary of halliburton. halliburton, a defense contract, to ripped or taxpayers for billions in iraq. a congressman who pushed the prescription drug bill, he went to work for a big pharmaceutical company after leaving office.
tommy thompson, former secretary of health, has interests in a health insurance company. so it's running rampant, especially among republicans. guest: yes. host: but not exclusively republicans? guest: right. it's been in every administration we've seen, you know, prior to this year. and i appreciate the fact that you've been able to cite more examples. you know, i have said there are hundreds, hundreds of examples. by the way, billy posen is a particularly interesting case, because it was his experience that prompted me to try to change the period to include lobbying activity. billy tauzin was instrumental in 200 in negotiating the pharmaceutical drug agreement that gave the pharmaceutical industry everything it wanted. it gave it no price controls on drugs. it prohibited the importation of cheaper drugs from canada.
and it prohibited the federal government from using its buying power to leverage lower prices from the pharmaceutical industry. two months after billy tauzin negotiated that bill, he then took a job as the lead lobbyist for the pharmaceutical organization at a reported salary of $2 million a year. scommoip we want to make mention of the fact that in the report cashing in, which you can find on www.citizen.org, a lest of former congress -- members of congress lobbying on behalf of the financial services sector in 2009 on this page we have right here. the first six, three democrats, three republicans. back to the phones. wichita, kansas, carol on our line for republicans. good morning, carol. caller: hello. now, is this live right now? host: yes, it is. caller: what i'm watching on television does not reflect me on air.
is that -- are you going rerecord it? host: what are you talking about, carol? caller: my question. type go ahead and ask. caller: ok then, that's fine. i was just trying to ask them, as far as this -- as far as what i was disgusted with in the election is the fact that i did not feel like we really nominated the people that were the president. it was the lobbyists that nominated them. and the second part of my question, is i'm just wondering if anybody ever learned anything from this 9/11 as far as knowing that some of these deceiving activities, you know, something is going to come in between. host: we're going leave it there. it's a concern about lobbyists and their influence on the election, especially going into the november elections later this year. guest: that is the very valid concern. lobbyists play not only a critical role in influence
peddling on capitol hill, but they are the first and the biggest of the campaign contributors and campaign fundraisers. in order to really buy influence on capitol hill in addition to using the revolving door, one of the other most effective techniques is to hand over cash. to the public officials and candidates. and so lobbyists are the first and the earliest to do the fundraising for office holders. in order to address that problem, by the way, we need to go beyond lobbying and ethics reform, and we need to change the system of how we finance campaigns. we've got to get away from this privately financed campaigning and going to other campaigns, and there is currently legislation pending in this congress and moving very well in both the house and the senate that set up public financing so we can just do away with these lobbyists and other private specialists
buying our office holders. host: asheville, north carolina, david on our line for i understand pents. you're on the "washington journal" t. caller: yes, hi, good morning. thank you, mr. holman and c-span. have a comment and then a question. first off, the question was, does any lobbyist have access to the federal reserve chairman or the federal reserve governors in the way of influencing any type of policy that would be going toward bernanke or formerly greenspan? and then the comment i wanted to make is, is there any age limit on -- on the age limit of the federal reserve chairman. it seems to me like in policy, if you have pilots that are forced to retirpe at 60 for the safety of the aircraft, it would appear to me that because of the problems that can be
caused been a elderly gentleman, greenspan retirppede at age 80. if you would take up that cause for me, i'd appreciate it. guest: i am unaware of the age limits in terms of service for the fed. i'm just not familiar with that. however, i am familiar with the role of lobbying and the fed. and yes, us lobbyists will go everywhere we need to go in order to try to influence public policy, and that is not just dealing with elected officials. that is also dealing with appointed officials and federal agencies such as the fed. the fed was renowned for letting the wall street meltdown occur because in the way in which it also helped loose loosen some of the regulatory oversight, which is why there's a great deal of concern, especially among
progressives, that this new idea of a consumer financial agency that would help consumers have oversight over the financial services industry, not be ingrained within the fed because there is a great deal of concern that the fed is overly subject to lobbying and special interest concerns. host: our last call for craig holman comes from vernon, new york, on our line for democrats. welcome to the program. caller: good morning. i just wanted to call and thank mr. holman for the job that he and public citizen do for the american public. i would also hope that if tea baggers are truly interested in reforming government, that they'll get involved with public citizen, who really fights for taking government back for the american people. guest: i will take that as a compliment. i believe it was deserved, and i'll make sure public citizen knows your feelings on this. by the way, one little comment
on the tea baggers, who, you know, have a very veiled concern when it comes to, you know, perhaps overgovernment regulation. one of the key lobbyists, dick armey, is attempting to ingratiate himself within the tea bag movement. now, he does not adhere to a lot of libertarian fill so he was, so for the tea bag movement, there's a warning for you. host: thank you very much, craig holman, for being on the "washington journal." in just a few minutes, we're going to have a discuss regarding diplomatic i am montreal with bruce wedgewood, but first we want to look at the past week through the eyes of a new of the nation's editorial cartoonists.
>> "washington journal" continues. host: bruce wedgewood joins us to talk about diplomatic immunity. he is an international law and diplomacy professor at johns hopkins school of advanced international studies. welcome to the program. guest: thank you very much. host: so what exactly is diplomatic immunity and who gets it and who doesn't? guest: well, diplomats get it, first of all, just from the name of the thing. host: but not all diplomats? guest: high-level diplomats. it's designed to protect people who are envoys. just imagine yourself in the cold war and you're an american diplomat, you're going to moscow, it might be in the interest of the k.g.b., god forbid, to set you up to try to compromise you as a diplomat. and then they can charge you with something and then try to
pump you for secrets. the diplomatic immunity was meant to preserve the vie ability of diplomats so they could do their function and do it without danger, without personal danger. host: diplomatic i am montreal became international law with the vienna convention on diplomatic relations in 1961. guest: that's the date of the treaty t. actually was customary law a long, long time before that, because even in the congress at the time, 1815, european diplomats wanted to be able to talk to each other, even in situations where they might be on the brink of war. but to try to take the measure of mediation and negotiation that could afert a crisis, so it was considered very important to have a bilateral guarantee. we get as much as we give from a very long time ago. host: so why was it necessary to formalize it in 1951 if it had been sort of this "gentleman's agreement"? guest: well, it was more than a gentleman's agreement. there is a category that's unfamiliar to many people who aren't international lawyers because we don't use it in domestic law so much, called
customary law, where it's something well founded enough in custom and acknowledged as being lethal more than just good manners. but it was formalized in 1961, was having a treaty could take care of some of the contentious issues on the edge, the status of a lower level in a diplomatic mission. what happens is some have been recalled, did they get a zone of withdrawal without danger. there are usually something at the edge that needed clarification. host: it's become something that was in the news recently because of the situation with a qatari diplomat. he was detained after trying to light up a cigarette in the bathroom and then sarcastically quiped that he was trying to light his shoes on fire. what happened to this guy? guest: well, he was eventually book a plane to qatar, again, making jokes in airports is not
like the old days. certainly a diplomat ought to know that. but he was claimed by the head of his diplomatic mission who had been traveling on official business, and that immunized him from any criminal consequence. host: and to the average citizen who say, you know what, if i tried to light up a get in a bathroom in an airplane and then made a joke with it about a federal marshal, i'd already be in jail. guest: well, he felt he was forbidden from flying again on u.s. airways, and indeed, expelled from the country. every diplomat who does so does so with the agreement of the u.s. government and vice verse, so when f it's somebody we think would be particularly troublesome or not, we can refuse to give agreement. and protect that name. but that goes both ways, too. there's always a certain tolerance of what one of the unnamed functions of diplomatic
missions in real life is espionage. and a lot of diplomats are -- at times they're pretty well known to be persons with an interest in more than cocktail parties and other functions. host: we're talking about diplomatic immunity with ruth wedgewood of the johns hopkins school of advanced studies f. you'd like to get involved, give us a call. republicans, 202-737-0001. democrats, 202-737-0002. independents, 202-628-0205. and because we're talking about diplomacy, if anybody calls can us from outside the u.s., we'd love to hear from you, 202-628- 0184. want to go over some more issues regarding diplomatic immunity. we got this from the state department. it says diplomatic agent may not be arrested, prosecuted, or subpoenaed as a witness. family members receive full
immunity and involatility. members of the administrative and technical staff may not be arrested, prosecuted, or subpoenaed as witnesses. family members receive full immunity and viability, and also both diplomatic agents and members of administrative and technical staff may be issued a traffic citation. that seems to cover just about everybody. but, you know, the traffic citation thing, especially here in washington, d.c. and also in new york, where there's a heavy diplomatic -- guest: rudy giuliani used to love this. host: everybody that says diplomats get tickets and they never pay them. guest: well, first of all, i am montreal comes in two flavors. one is absolute immunity. so for the very high level members of the diplomatic embassy or mission, they're immune from everything. you can't touch their person. you can't arrest them even if they committed a murder. you can expel them.
for lower level folks, it's things that are official, so that they were off on a bender of their own, they went to new orleans, went gambling and robbed a casino, you could arrest them, because that's not part of their official duties. so there is that important distinction. on traffic regulations, of course you can enforce rules against diplomatic personnel in the sense of physical enforcement. but you can't ultimately collect your traffic tickets in f they park in manhattan. host: physical enforcement, meaning you can tow their car? guest: i believe you can even tow their car, yeah. but it attempts to make sure that the law is not used for purposes of harassment or piercing diplomatic secrets, which to be sure, we might want to know for other reasons, but which we want reciprocity on for our own discussions. host: our first call from pennsylvania. ronald on our line for democrats. go ahead.
caller: thank you very much. i'm a first-time caller. i would just like to say, whether you feel on diplomatic immunity, does it extend too far? does it not extend far enough? i was just wondering your interest on that. guest: well, there's actually an interesting debate going on in an analagous subject, which is head of state immunity. traditionally heads of government, heads of state were also absolutely immune from any enforcement of the law in another country, and now you've seen both with the new rome international criminal courts and with some of the use of national courts or prosecutions for war crimes. arguments being made that perhaps heads of state, even sitting heads of state, should not be absolutely immune. you see this in sudan, where the president of sudan has been indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity. so i would expect to see some filtration of heads of state over to diplomats. but what keeps this being
sacrosanct is there actually is a negotiated treaty which says in plain, you know, black-letter terms that you can't touch an ambassador. but i do think there's a tension, whenever there's a really horrendous bit of behavior by whomever, it galls people, it roils the public as opposed to some guy could get away scott scot-free. host: next up, ray. caller: yeah, the whole concept of diplomatic immunity, it doesn't make any sense. so basically we want to let them come over here, commit whatever crime they wanted, and they're just going to let them go. that's just a threat to the security, and i can't believe that they'd even allow us to do that. this is hope this is not a one-way street. give us an example of where diplomatic example may have been exercised in order to bring back a u.s. diplomatic from a -- diplomat from another country.
guest: again, in the cold war furksd a u.s. diplomat in moscow, beijing, bulgaria, you would worry very much if he was suddenly arrested and put in a prison and interrogated by locals who might report to be talking to him about his crime, but might also be pumping him for secrets about the procedures of the u.s. so the thought was that if you put anybody in the kind of impenetrable custody of a foreign state who was carrying state secrets, that's a real problem for you. so in that respect, however annoying it is to us at times, i think the conclusion was by everything alike that we got as much as we gave. now, when there are victims of particular crimes, yes, it is really, really troublesome, emotionally and spiritually just human reaction toss that this person should walk away.
there was a controversy of qaddafi's son, who was in geneva. i was actual there will when he got arrested two summers ago. now, this was head of state immunity. he may have been a diplomat, but he was arrested for beating a servant, bludgeoning a servant, which is not a very nice thing to do where i come from. my daughter was a lawyer. you don't do that to lawyers. but because he was the son of the libyan head of state, he was allowed to go back to tripoli. and that kind of incident can be really, really provoking and make people to want abolish the institution t. takes a real hard swallow to think what they could do to us, not because we would choose to behave the same way, but because a foreign state could use it in a predatory way, in a fake way to get at our people. and it's no fun being a diplomat abroad in a hostile crirks i'll tell you. host: back to the phones, chester county, pennsylvania,
james on our line for democrats. i want to ask about immunity, is it offered to these people regarding -- for example, what if one attempted to hurt our president or assassinate our president? we certainly would let this person leave our country after attempting to hurt our president or someone in our congress or someone on that level. wouldn't we have some kind of authority or some ability to arrest that person? guest: oh, goodness. when i used to teach at yale law school before i came down here to hopkins, what you do is done very effectively is pose the limit case that seems to bend the metal. because it would be appalling to indicate. but i'm give you a slightly lesser example, which is that in the libyan mission in the
united kingdom, in the 1960's or 1970's, i was just there in st. james square. there was a anti-qaddafi demonstration and a libyan intelligence officer was accredited, took a shot from the window of the libyan embassy and killed a british policewoman, yvonne fletcher, and they were allowed to leave. the brits really decided that is what they had to do under the reciprocity of diplomatic immunity. so i hate to think about your case. technically speaking, under international law, they would be entitled to immunity and leave. i would not predict what would happen in such a case, whatever. >> tell us about the case of the united states of america versus ndinov. guest: he was a gentleman from bulgaria. this was before when i was a prosecutor. he was a bulgarian trader.
he had an office up in new york. the office was connected in some big way to the diplomatic missions. and he was acupesed of having sought to obtain nuclear secrets on nuclear safety protocols after an undercover meeting at the top of the -- it was a building in columbus circle, seventh avenue, 59th street, looking for the document to him, so it was pretty powerful evidence. and we litigated whether he was immune or not. we had just been through a congressional statute. he said he was immune. we said he wasn't. state department said he wasn't. f.b.i. said he wasn't.
they wanted to decide if he was because of some talk which had been more colloquial talk. he was part of the mission meaning legally, so that got to the second circuit we won, and he got traded to the russians for a bunch of other folks. we got some good folks that were of somewhat lesser importance. host: our next call for ruth wedgewood comes from brooklyn, new york. michael on our line for independents. you're on the "washington journal." caller: is there a case in the history that an american citizen has changed his status and then was able to receive diplomatic prince george's or diplomatic immunity. guest: changed his status to a student while in the foreign country you mean? caller: no, while he was in the u.s. so say they shifted center being a regular citizen to
other. guest: i have a friend of mine up in harlem, is a lawyer, and at one point he became the u.n. ambassador for a smaller country. for diplomatic immunity purposes, that has to be done with the permission of the host country. so there's somebody the u.s. national, it wants to serve as the ambassador for czechoslovakia or the czech republic. their diplomatic immunity would require the permission of the u.s. it's not ordinary to have a u.s. national service as foreign ambassador, although it does happen. host: jennifer our cicero, indiana, go ahead. caller: in which country does most diplomatic crimes occur, or and is there a particular country they come from as well in general? guest: oh, gosh, i don't have a breakdown, and it's probably the garden-variety crimes of
your kids smoked marijuana or you failed to obey the traffic regulations. i don't know really. the ones that make the headlines obviously are ones that are in strategic relationships, but what happens in a small country with a small country just doesn't even penetrate the blogosphere. i don't think anybody systematically collects that, to my knowledge. host: let's take this call on our line for independents out of phoenix this morning. good morning. caller: good morning. host: good morning. caller: i want to absolutely compliment your guest this morning. i wish i could take her course. but i know, i know that we have this mentality in this country and a diplomat is perceive as above it all. but i think that if we can go 200 years with a gentleman, and i hope essentially gentlemanwoman's agreement, that those people are doing the true business of international
peace, if you will, that we can get along without the insane rules of let's have a rule for everything. but some of those diplomats might be very useful in the lobby industry for what has become international megalomaniac business, and i wonder if you could address that. what's the corporate input from a diplomat at those cocktail parties on an international scale? thank you. guest: well, in general, folks that are litigators would have to go to court, but international litigators in general think it's desirable to have a written treaty if you can. i mean, the particular treaty in question here, the vienna convention on diplomatic relations, was hammered out over a series of years in geneva. the little known organ called the international law commission, where we've always
been represented recently, and it lets people who are technical lawyers, who can worry about kind of a slip and slide or cherry bombs, if i may explain that badly, of course, they can look at the text and really try to nail doufpble you also get negotiating in history, which would help the judge not familiar with diplomacy who understand what was intend. so in general, though i take your point, a treaty can lock you you in in ways you're not happy about. a treaty has the advantage of clarity. i'll tell up, if did you to a judge in a local court in any country, make it another country and you've been arrested by the village for gambling and you're a diplomat, you would really be happy to have a text in your hand, because otherwise there's a thing called customary law which he's never heard of and you're going to have to wait in the slammer for about a week. but it's very handy. they google the calculations,
and you'll see that it's hand off. so that's important. it's true. sometimes dim macts would rather do a variety of functions. one that we should do in my view is to have some relationship with civil society. so if you have an american diplomat who's in a very repressive country, even cuba, we at times try to kind of sustain too very, very brave dissidents who otherwise are at the mercy of the regime so. that kind of bilateral civil society relationships is something that the diplomats increasingly do do because of human rights. they shouldn't be, again, making money on their own. you can't function. they can, or certainly their business counselors, economic counselors do also have a function of trying to promote exports and imports and the kind of bilateral commercial
relationship that really can sb a foundation, so stable, friendly, political cooperation. so it's an official corruption for the american business and vice versa. host: there was a case that a lot of folks in the d.c. area are familiar with. it happened about 13 years ago, an embassy official from the republic of georgia pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter after driving while intoxicated and hitting a young lady -- guest: i remember that. it was right up the street on mass avenue. host: dupont circle. what happened to that guy, and was he granted diplomatic immunity? >> i don't recall specifically. i think he was. it's certainly type of case that's so provocative. and you should be doing the 6 x9, to have that guy just go home is galling. host: what's the difference between diplomatic immunity and
being considered persona non grata. pipe p.n.g., as they like to say. that's the common lingo even. persona is person, nonis no, and grata is accepted. persona non grata, you're not wanted here anymore. he jds everything. we like the way he pronounced it. we think he's a spire. we think he's behaving recklessly. some if you did, in fact, have a set of data that shows you that you were consistently driving, get him out, the better you can follow the cat, the better you can take your time. we can do it typically you'll get some retaliation, we sell aun a year, you downrise our
position, we'll do yours. but i think post most countries want their maim nacts it very well behaved. also, a country can waive diplomatic immunity. so it's not a personal right. so if somebody says a diplomatic, pick a country, any country, argentina to the u.s., and he commts a murder. he's a high level, absolutely i am montreal embassy owe firnlt. physical first really only the prerogative as the diplomatic state and not as a person. host: back to the phones with ruth wedgewood. our next call comes from pennsylvania. randy on our line forces democrats. caller: good morning. tell me, our rim cat to russia, or did he just write a lot of
books. and industry the secretary a space serve first. absolute so she has complete immunity from being molested, the noise, is he quested. . george tenet, very interesting family right there. thinks he will unkell went to russia in the early 19900's, wrong a look back about pierre i can't prison camp. zsa him to do that thinking it would be a frnled book, and that said part of the roone why why was accepted. so the greater georgetown, the great on the a thee after lot it was appear sbement how they
were going to tament to be i don't ever barring toward form he claimed litter it didn't mean mitt tarry containment, more of a diplomatic, economic pushback. but his family had a long, long venerable history, looking at mother russia and figure the out how to en counter the up become of zurems. host: mark from independents our massachusetts. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you. i got a question involving -- regarding a revolving door policy like we were talking about earlier, but with respect to diplomats. i know they're appointed by the president, but do they come from corporate america oar are they legacy guys? like they were saying great-grandfather was a diplomat, an ambassador, or is it, you know, business, and
also, with respect to skies ral re pleam, but whatever of this became of you will that, we're going to talk with on you it will holer. coming up is from baltimore on our democrats line. go ahead. caller: good morning. very interesting to hear the discussion about the past enjoying the immunity. but what about democratic immunity? i'm hoping is there really committing slide, so much in violence. again, it's domestic servant and so on like that. how can you classify where they can be prosecuted and why they have diplomatic i am montreal. host: ma'am? where are you from? caller: i'm from sudan. host: and have you had any
conscious with either ear in the d.c. area or up in new york with the united states. caller: yes, i know. host: you want to tell us about it? caller:, no i just would like to stick to that question so i can follow that. guest: well, i very much share your concern that domestic violence and violence for servants or toward hired help is a very serious problem around the world, whether it's trafficking in person or the exploitation of i am montreal from the local criminal process, and then that was the qaddafi case, the most he grieges, alleged kind of way. host: can that get you thrown out of the united states? guest: it can, and it should. i wouldn't be adverse about thinking about international jurisdiction for that. now, on the u.n., thib about it might be too would i spread to address. but on the you know, you know heads of mission also do get
apps with i am mubte, and there's an executive agreement that the u.s. entered into with the u.n. for that purpose. on your earlier call, i would say ambassadors come in two flavors. one is the president, one of the contributors or college pals. some of them are very small. there are some that are very, very capable and often have the virtue of being able to call up the president, which, if you have a host country, they love. you can call up barack obama or call up george bush and get them on the phone because they iced to be college frat brothers, terrific. that's the terrific post. and one of the reasons, as i have, is you shouldn't, in very dell countries where you really need some experience and a german wood, sort of a feeling of touchdown. you don't want somebody who's a amateur who's just a friend of
whomever, friend of bill, friend of george. but but how you came to the center is not going to drop the time-outs. host: chandler on the line. you're on the air, go ahead. caller: i remember doing one of the diplomats attending the conference, pulled a gun on protesters. i just topped point out that that sometimes does -- i mean, it could disrupt the democratic process. guest: i would say so. caller: but my question is, has there been examples of countries waving immunities for their diplomats? guest: there have been, particular until traffic cases. nobody wants their own employee to think they can cruise around at 80 while they're intoxicated on an urban road so. there have been instances where the u.s. has requested a country to wave dim may not, and they do. i think it's probably
underutilized, because there are so particular reason that somebody blood case. >> regarding the accident that i talk about. if the second highest ranking diplomat in the embassy and indicated that he would be recalled home, this is according to an issue by michael one of the new york peist, but the president at the time stepped in particularly to assure the department the seriousness of the enlt, that that official and his obvious role in it, his country would not block efforts by the united states to prosecute that gentleman here. back to the phones. spencer, west virginia, on our line for independents. jeff, go ahead. caller: this is a very interesting top he can you have here this morning. my question, is if a high-ranking democrat were to
commit a race and then not get prosecuted in the united states, if he was to go back to his home country, could that country bring him up on those charges or is it kind of a deal, well, this happened on our soil, so we can't do neglect. is there any cases of something like this happen and the guy going out. guest: well, certainly the home country could prosecute and should prosecute him. it can term, folks on country that occurs even if it's not on your territory of based on the national the of the. so it depends on the country implementing that. they'd have to have a national criminal code that permits that to be done. typically some of the place where the crime was heard. european countries are somewhat
different. they think any crime done by a frernlman anywhere in the world should be prosecuted in france. you also have the nationality as a victim as the basis for such. but i think it would be a very healthy practice that there would be an expectation that anybody that committed the crime on broad should be looked at at home. i'll give you one very important example, which people don't think about anybody, and my friends at the abab. >> peacekeepers raped from the congo, they're on mission. they're a kind of diplomatic community for countries to where they're they lived. the u.s. is just about in the. they do not trap the degree to -- or push adequately for, in my view, the prosecution of those folks at home. they should be.
we have to keep very good records, not invite them back. it's a very important function. you don't want peacekeepers causing as much trouble as the people you're supposed to be encountering. host: steve from annapolis, maryland, democrats line. caller: good morning. just a few questions. did your guest use the words dipthong a few minutes back? if so, that's the first time i've heard t. host: oh, we use it a few times. guest: it was a pun about dips. caller: i think i had a grammar school back in the day that was very fond of that word, and i don't think i've heard it since. fascinating. host: we're rung out of time. what's your question? caller: i have a son who's a sophomore at immerse poly-sci makeup. what is the career track for one who would look to getting into system.
but even without that, even with the patch lors, he can take the foreign service men and get interviewed, and they're now taking women, they're taking people of color, they're taking people from all different backgrounds. so he can actually just look up on the web when the next foreign service exam is being taken and try to join the state department. getting into the u.n. is tougher for americans because they have country quotas and country goals. but if you're below the age of 32 and if the u.s. pops up on their annual u.n. exam, they can't even search you and wait so often on the web, you can then take the exam. if you score in the top several percentiles, you might then get on the eligible list for u.n. employment. host: our next call comes from charles on our line for independents, coming out of north carolina. go ahead. caller: yes, my question is, for diplomats, we're currently
doing an upgrade to our system here dealing with our bridge system. we have people coming over, as a luded to, they're dealing with espionage. what about coming over in the hard line, hacking into our systems that you can't touch the person, so if they had a system going to a sensitive area, getting nuclear secrets we're trying to maintain, what do we do? do that we take that information to them or are they free to just leave with that information? guest: technically speaking, but their person is also liable. it's a diplomatic bag and a diplomatic mission. in the case of my undercover operation, he had been handed a
document by our operator, and that was grabbed off as he left the building, but on the premise that he didn't have immunity. if god forbid somebody gets an american classified document and puts it in a diplomatic pouch, technically speaking, the pouch is not viable. again, in real life, that's what one might see. but this is the downside. this is the cost of doing business of having this kind of reciprocal immunity. host: palm beach, james on our independents line. caller: good morning. i'd just like to make some corrections here, if i may. as far as suggesting that for the first time that the foreign service is hiring women or people of color. that is not true. they have been hiring the best people they can find for some time now. also, it's been confusing to your listeners as to what is who is a diplomatic, as the guest there said. you have senior diplomats, etc.
perhaps you could clear up you have diplomats only in embassies. is it just the ambassador who gets that? that would actually be the ambassador and extraordinary who is the representative of the president of the united states. host: james, it sounds like you have diplomatic experience. caller: just 32 years. i think you have to clarify about consulate offices, since you have many people working there. you think that a 23-year-old vice consul has diplomatic immunity? you also mentioned cuba. how can you be a diplomat in a state in which there are no diplomatic relations. host: james, you've given us a lot to work with. thank you very much. guest: there are many extraordinary scombem people of color for a long time. but i do think it's the case that there are more now and there's a welcoming attitude, and it's not just folks from the old, old, old days, from good new england families.
it's a very wide reflection of american family, which is use informal reaching out to the world. you're quite right, there are consuls of both diplomats. there's a separate consul ar relations in the vienna convention. it's also the case that lots of people are diplomats who aren't the ambassadors, and there's a cutoff of the kind of immunity you get changes, if you're administrative and technical person, then you only get official immunity, the things you do specifically for the mission. but if you are an administrative person under an administrative heading, you would only be i am mized for your business functions, not if you were off on a bender at a bar in georgetown. missing one of the suggestions. host: let's take a couple more calls. george on our line for democrats, pennsylvania. caller: good morning.
guest: something about drugs. host: yeah, something about drugs in south america. is there a particular watch dog operation that looks for what diplomats may or may not be carrying when they come into the country or when they leave the country? guest: wrbling there's been a long negotiation in trying to include some kind of a convention on diplomatic couch. because it's even been alleged that a foreign country was smuggling, kidnapping a person in a diplomatic couch, and cold war, they caught a defector, wanted to ship him back, put him in a trunk and take him back out of dodge. and that would obviously be a terrible abuse of human rights. but the attempt to actually nail down the standards of diplomatic consciousness has not been in detail, has not been as successful. on narcotics, very much as much as. we have from time to time
indicted prime ministers for narcotics trafficking. there was even concern in haiti recently that -- i'm not an expert -- that under aristide, there was much too much influence in haiti before preval took over. so the possibility of abuse of immunity for mercantile activities is a real one and one we have to figure out. host: our last call comes from highland, north carolina. luke on our line for independents. go ahead. caller: yes, hi. i recently became a peace corps voluntary in honduras, and i was wondering if the volunteers around the world, if they have any sort of diplomatic protection if they were to get in trouble with, say, the local law enforcement people. guest: i don't know. my instinct is to say they probably don't. they certainly would have good
offices of the u.s. and a sense of outrage if they were being abused, but i don't believe they have any specific immunity. because it is a sensitive issue for countries. they do try to limit the number of people who have immunity, and the premise of being a volunteer, which is a wonderful thing to be, to really live in and among your local folks who you're trying to protect. host: ruth wedgewood of the johns hopkins school, thank you very much for coming and talking to us about diplomatic immunity. one final piece from "the new york daily news" this morning under the headline, "read it and weep" by george, racked up -- have a seat. there you go. he racked up late fees for late fees. two centuries ago, the nation's first president borrowed from the new york library on east 79th street, and never returned them, racking up a $300,000 in
late fees. you can read more about that in today's "new york daily news." want to till a little bit about tomorrow's "washington journal." swreel marty from the associated press, senior economics writer. he'll be here to talk to us about financial stress in the united states. and then from new york, former governor george pataki will be here to talk to us about his political future, as well as his new organization, revereamerica.org. and we'll wrap up the program with thomas difilipo of the joint council on international children's services. he'll be here to talk to bus intercountry adoptions. thank you very much for tuning in to this edition of the "washington journal." and we'll see you again tomorrow morning. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] .