The Summers “Aura of Wrongness”

Larry Summers, former Obama economic adviser and a leading candidate for World Bank president, neatly sums up the problem of regulatory capture in Washington, reflecting on his time at the Clinton Treasury:

It was the practice of the Treasury to take advice from investment banks on bond market issues from others with a stake in development of those markets. It was common for the Treasury to listen to advice on currency intervention from those with undisclosed positions in currency markets. It was commonplace in our cooperation with financial markets, for example, to speak with members of the board of the New York Stock Exchange about market integrity, all of whom had a variety of positional interests with respect to different aspects of the market functioning.

So without judging what would or would not be a conflict of interest, what would or would not constitute a conflict of interest, it certainly would be my view and I think would have been the view of other US financial officials that there was no per-se disqualifying of the validity or morality of advice based on the holding of financial positions in the entity, area, place, type of investment, or anything else with which the advice was given.

How conflict-of-interest issues were to be addressed in any particular context was an issue that was left to the lawyers. And it was our practice to ourselves follow the guidelines or contracts which we signed. But there was no aura of wrongness of any kind that would be associated with providing advice on a financial issue in which one had an interest. (emphasis mine)

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Rush Limbaugh and his advertisers

“The Rush Limbaugh Show” is the most-listened-to talk radio program in the U.S., according to Arbitron, a consumer research company. The show is syndicated by media giant Clear Channel Communications, and most Americans probably live within range of an AM station that airs it for 3 hours each weekday. But it’s hard to accept that many of them would have agreed with the crude and degrading comments Limbaugh made last week about law student and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke.

Subsequent protests of Limbaugh’s comments have prompted 40+ companies to pull their advertising from “The Rush Limbaugh Show” in the past week. But many sponsors remain, and Rush claims that the protests to his remarks haven’t had any real impact.

To find out who is still advertising on Rush, we here at LittleSis tuned in to Rush’s program today (Wednesday, March 7) on our local station – Buffalo, NY’s WBEN “NewsRadio 930” – and recorded all businesses, national and local, that are effectively standing by the program. Here’s what we heard:

Buffalo area businesses

National businesses

If you’d like to let these businesses know how you feel about their sponsorship of Limbaugh’s program, Daily Kos has published a helpful action guide, “How to take action against Limbaugh at the local level.” (The comments to Part 2 suggest that some stations have already dropped “The Rush Limbaugh Show” this week in response to listener feedback.)

You can find out who owns your local radio station at Buffalo’s WBEN is operated by Entercom, and its local contact information is as follows:

Sharon Metz, Director of Regional Sales

500 Corporate Parkway

Suite 200

Buffalo, NY  14226

(716) 843-0169

[email protected]