He just voted against the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, which among other things establishes a new Pecora Commission to examine corporate fraud and scams in the mortgage industry.

He’s the only member of the Missouri delegation to vote against the bill. Wow.

An overview of the bill provided by the Speaker’s office is below the fold.

  • Updates Federal Fraud Statutes to Include Mortgage-Lending Businesses:  Extends Federal fraud laws (including false statements, mail and wire fraud, and financial institution fraud) to apply to mortgage lending businesses, not directly regulated or insured by the Federal Government.  These lenders were responsible for nearly half the residential mortgage market before the economic collapse, yet they remain largely unregulated and outside the scope of traditional Federal fraud statutes.

  • Protect Taxpayers Money by Applying Fraud Statute to TARP and Recovery Package:  Makes it a federal crime for government contractors to defraud the government of funds under the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the economic stimulus package, including Government purchases of preferred stock in financial institutions.
  • Nearly Double FBI’s Mortgage, Financial Fraud Program: Includes $75 million for the FBI to nearly double the size of its mortgage and financial fraud program by hiring 190 additional special agents and more than 200 professional staff and forensic analysts. With this funding, the FBI can double its mortgage fraud task forces nationwide – from 26 to more than 50 – that target fraud in the hardest hit areas of our nation.
  • Increases Support for Prosecution, Investigation of Fraud Cases:  Authorizes $50 million per year to U.S. Attorney’s Offices to staff the FBI’s fraud strike forces, and provides $40 million to the Department of Justice Criminal, Civil, and Tax Divisions to provide litigation and investigative support in fraud cases.
  • Strengthens Analytical, Investigative Capacities of HUD, Secret Service, US Postal Service:  Authorizes $80 million for investigators and analysts at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Urban Housing and Development to combat fraud in Federal assistance programs and financial institutions.
  • Strengthen False Claims Act to Bolster Recovery of Taxpayers’ Dollars: Rectifies several federal court decisions that have narrowed the application of the False Claims Act, which allows individual whistle blowers with knowledge that a company, entity, or person has defrauded the U.S. Government to act as a private attorney general to recover the damages owed to taxpayers.  Since 1986, suits filed under the Act have recovered over $22 billion in taxpayer money that otherwise would have been lost to fraud.  
  • Financial Markets Commission

  • Creates Financial Markets Inquiry Commission: Creates an outside commission to investigate the causes of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States – similar to the investigation of the Pecora congressional committee that examined the Stock Market Crash of 1929.  The Pecora investigation uncovered fraudulent and unscrupulous practices on Wall Street that undermined the financial system.  That congressional investigation contributed to the development of the regulatory system that governed our financial markets for decades.
  • Commission Goals:  This commission will produce a detailed and clear-eyed examination of what went wrong, which is needed to bring accountability to a financial system that rewards unduly risky behavior, and to help inform Congress as we move forward with common sense reforms to prevent these crises from happening in the future.
  • Bipartisan Commission Made Up of Independent Experts:  This Financial Markets Commission will be made up of 10 members (6 appointed by the Majority and, 4 by the Minority), with significant experience in banking, market regulation, taxation, finance, economics, housing and consumer protection.
  • Commission Report Next Year:  The Commission will hold hearings, can issue subpoenas for witness testimony or documents and must report its findings and conclusions to Congress by December 15, 2010.
  • Examine Broad Range of Issues Leading to the Economic/Financial Crisis:  The Commission will look at a broad range of areas, including the role of:  fraud and abuse in the financial sector, state and Federal regulatory enforcement; credit rating agencies; lending practices and securitization; corporate governance and executive compensation; Federal housing policy; derivatives; GSEs; and short-selling, among others.  The Commission is also required to examine the causes of major financial institutions that failed or were likely to fail without government assistance.