The Glass-Steagall Act was a Depression-era measure that helped clean up the financial sector by forcibly separating commercial and investment banks. Politicians aren’t expected to know the ins and outs of every measure, especially those passed 80 years ago. But in light of this decade’s Depression-esque mess, Glass-Steagall—which was weakened for years and fully repealed by a Republican majority in 1999—has been receiving considerable attention. So it’s rather surprising that three-term Republican Congressman Dave Reichert is “not familiar” with the act.
On Saturday, after giving a speech at a candidates forum in Newcastle, Reichert took questions from audience members. One of those questions was: “I agree with you that overregulation is not a good thing, but do you think that they should reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act and at least separate the banks’ ability to gamble with our money?”
Here’s Reichert’s response: “Well, the Glass-Steagall Act is one that I’m not familiar with. I’m sorry I have to go back and look at that, but I do agree it’s something that we haven’t dealt with on the House side in committees that I’ve had, so I’d be happy to look at that and come back and give you an answer on that.”
A call to Reichert’s campaign was not returned. But we’re thinking that if he really needs an education on the subject, it wouldn’t be that hard. After all, Sen. Maria Cantwell, a fellow Washington politician, has been trying to get Glass-Steagall reinstated for nearly a year now.