Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole was criticized Tuesday for attempting to loosen banking regulations earlier this year at time a time when the financial crisis was growing.
Democrat Kay Hagan noted that Dole had introduced legislation that would have made voluntary, rather than mandatory certfication by CEOs and outside auditors of the internal accounting controls of banks, Rob Christensen reports.
Hagan said quoted an industry publication as saying such legislation was “supremely naive” after all all the corporate scandals.
She also said that Dole received a campaign contribution of $2,500 from Bear Stearns' PAC six days after she introduced the legislation. The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc., a New York-based investment bank, collapsed last month as part of the subprime mortgage crisis.
"Once again she is a rubber stamp for President Bush," Hagan said in a teleconference with reporters.
The Dole campaign dismissed the allegations. The loosening of standards of the Sarbanes-Oxley law had been requested by First Citizens Bank of Raleigh and supported by the state Bankers Association as a way to relieve the regulatory burdens on smaller banks, said Brian Nick, Dole’s chief of staff.
"To say that Bear Stearns some how benefited from this is absolutely preposterous," Nick said. "It shows a total lack of understanding that Kay Hagan has."
More after the jump.
Nick said that neither of the state’s two banking giants, Bank of America or Wachovia, showed any interest in the legislation.
The Dole bill never received a committee hearing.
Hagan portrayed Dole as ineffective senator. She said that during her six years on the Senate Banking Committee she had nothing to say in 60 meetings.
Nick said it was difficult to respond to that allegation, without knowing whether Dole was attending other meetings at the time.
Hagan also criticized Dole for not spending more time in North Carolina. She referred to a story published in The Winston-Salem Journal that said that Dole visited North Carolina only 13 days in 2006 according to Senate records.
Nick said those were only tax-paid trips and did not include personal or political visits.