Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fire Them?


Dear MoveOn member,

Last week the Obama administration took tough, decisive action with the auto industry, forcing the resignation of the CEO of General Motors.

The president knows that we can't trust the same folks who got us into this mess to help lead us out.

It's time to do the same for the banks. And the best way to start is by firing Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis. He's the worst of the worst.

Lewis's poor management helped ruin his company and our economy. Shareholders are calling him "reckless" and citing "disastrous missteps."1 Worse, Lewis accepted $45 billion in taxpayer bailout funds, but instead of using all the money to get the economy going again, he let $3.6 billion go to bonuses for top execs.2

There can't be real reform on Wall Street until the CEOs who brought down the banks we had to bail out are long gone.

Can you sign our petition asking Treasury Secretary Geithner replace the leadership at bailed out banks—starting with Ken Lewis? Clicking here adds your name:

The petition says: "We can't trust the same people who got us into this financial mess to help lead us out. Replace the leadership at the bailed-out banks, starting with Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis."

Lewis is the CEO of the biggest bank in the United States.3 If Secretary Geithner forces him to resign, it'll send a strong message to the rest of Wall St.: The era of zero accountability is over and reckless behavior that puts our economy at risk won't be tolerated.

Of all the folks who helped bring about the recession, Lewis is one of the worst:

* Shareholders say he helped drive the company into the ground. Bank of America has lost billions—and 90% of its value—in part because Lewis "hastily arranged the ill-considered acquisition" of Merrill Lynch.4
* Even after the crisis, he hasn't changed his ways. He ensured that high-level staff received bonuses—despite recent announcements that the bank was laying off another 35,000 employees.5
* On top of all this, he's fighting against more rights for workers. Three days after receiving $25 billion in bailout money, Bank of America brought together powerful banking interests to figure out how to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that makes it easier for workers to form unions.6

Ken Lewis has got to go. And we need to look closely at the other bailed-out banks that may need new leadership too.

Our friends at Service Employees International Union (the country's fastest-growing union) have been leading this campaign for a few weeks—and they're building momentum quickly. If hundreds of thousands of us act, together, we'll be impossible to ignore. Please sign today!

Thanks for all you do.

–Daniel, Patrick S., Eli, Lenore and the rest of the team


1. "Investment group calls on BofA to fire Ken Lewis," WCNC, March 5, 2009

"Union to B of A: Fire Ken Lewis or Risk a Shareholder Revolt," Talking Points Memo, March 5, 2009

2. "Thain tells investigators BofA's Ken Lewis knew of bonuses," CNN Money, February 20, 2009

3. "Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis scores another deal," Fortune, September 15, 2008

4. "Investment group calls on BofA to fire Ken Lewis," WCNC, March 5, 2009

5. "Ken Lewis, What's Really in Your Company's Best Interest?" SEIU Blog, February 12, 2009

6. "Bailout Recipients Hosted Call to Defeat Key Labor Bill," Huffington Post, January 27, 2009

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