WANTED: For profiting at the expense of our communities.

Wells Fargo leads the country in tax dodging, home foreclosures, predatory lending, private prison profiteering, financing payday loans and factory farms, political contributions, bank bailouts, record profits and CEO profits.

But don’t just take our word for it. Below are fact sheets and national press articles on the topic.

 

One of America’s biggest tax dodgers

While we struggle to save our homes and schools, Wells Fargo refuses to pay its fair share, amassed almost $18 billion in unpaid taxes over the last three years, tax money that was meant to pay for schools, repairing crumbling infrastructure, and putting America back to work.

Leads in home foreclosures

As the leading mortgage servicer in the country, last year alone, Wells Fargo earned $3.3 billion in profits from its mortgage servicing business, or about 20 percent of the bank’s total net income. As families continue to struggle with foreclosure, banks need to be doing everything they can to keep people in their homes. That includes providing massive, widespread principal reduction to cover the $700 billion in underwater mortgages that 24% of all Americans face today.

Despicable predatory lending

In 2011, Wells Fargo was fined $85 million – their largest ever – by the Federal Reserve after the Fed determined that Wells had intentionally pushed borrowers with good credit into expensive mortgages and falsified loan applications during the sub-prime mortgage boom. Wells Fargo is also under investigation by the Department of Justice, and the cities of Baltimore and Memphis.

Profits off of private prisons

Private prisons are profiting from peoples’ misery and our tax dollars. and Wells Fargo has been financing one of the largest – GEO Group – for several years.  By March 2012, Wells controlled more than 4.4 million shares of GEO worth $86.7 million.

Financing Payday Loans…

Wells Fargo is the number one financier of predatory payday lenders in the United States. Since at least 2002, Wells Fargo has operated open lines of credit with dozens of payday lenders across the country.  Within the past 10 years, Wells Fargo has led the way in financing payday lenders, funding well over $1 billion.

…and Factory Farms

Wells Fargo has financed the factory farm industry (most notably the DeCoster’s Quality Egg Farms until November 2011, and Prestage Farms currently) and has a significant financial interest in corporate agriculture giant Cargill, Inc.  Former Wells Fargo CEO Dick Kovecevich is on Cargill’s board, and Wells purchased their hedge fund in 2011.

Political Contributions

Wells Fargo and its top executives use money to make government work for them. From 2008-2010 Wells Fargo spent: $156,841 on state ballot measures, $1,300,250 in federal candidate contributions, and $11,040,000 in lobbying expenses.

Bank Bailouts

If you ask a Wells Fargo employee about the bank bailout, they will tell you that they were forced by the federal government to take the money, didn’t need it, and paid it back right away.  The truth is, Wells Fargo took $25 billion and used that cash to fund their aggressive takeover of Wachovia Bank.

Record Profits

You may think that a big bank that had to take taxpayer bailout money and forecloses on struggling families everyday might be having a tough time making ends meet themselves. You would be wrong! In the first quarter of 2012, in fact, Wells Fargo posted a record $4.25 billion profit.

CEO Bonuses

In 2011, while families were still facing foreclosure and unemployment was still above nine percent, Wells Fargo awarded CEO John Stumpf $19.8 million dollars – a 4.6 percent raise from 2010

 

>> Read more on our  Wells Fargo work.
>> Back to the WANTED: Wells Fargo page

 

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This Saturday marks the 2nd anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. This decision opened the flood gate of corporate money into our election.

This weekend actions are being held around the country to show that we need to break  the chokehold corporate power has on our democracy by getting the corrosive influence of big money out of our political system.

Check below to see if there is an action near you!

 

 

DES MOINES OCCUPY THE COURT ACTIONS

Thursday, January 19, Funeral March around the Capitol Rotunda, 10:30am to 11:30am to mourn the death of democracy, on the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court.  Wear black if possible (several women will be wearing mourning veils).  Meet near the cafeteria on the ground floor of the capitol at 10:00am to get organized.

Friday, January 20, Occupy the Courts rally, Soapbox, and Raging Granny concert at 4:30pm at the Federal Court Building, 123 E. Walnut Street to further commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the Citizens United decision.  Please come!

 

CEDAR RAPIDS OCCUPY THE COURT ACTIONS

Friday, January 20, Rolling Funeral For Democracy.  Meet at 11:30am at the Town & Country Shopping Center, 3607 1st Avenue SE to decorate cars with signs and funeral regalia for driving procession down First Ave to downtown.

Convene for RALLY beginning around 12:15pm across the street from the construction site of the new Federal Courthouse at 8th Ave. and 2nd  St. SE.  A minister will offer services over a flag draped coffin, there will be speeches and songs.  Hold signs and mark the Citizens United Anniversary till 1pm.

CELEBRATE AFTERWARDS… Finish mourning the death of democracy over a warm drink at the BLUE STRAWBERRY at 218 2nd St. SE.

 

IOWA CITY OCCUPY THE COURT ACTIONS

Saturday, Jan. 21st, RALLY on the Pentacrest at University of Iowa at 2pm

Join students and community members to mark the 2nd Anniversary of the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott Decision, CITIZENS UNITED and it’s attack on Democracy.

 

Click “Like” or “Tweet” below to share these events with your networks:

You and I have a key opportunity to elevate our “People First” message in the media and with the political parties Jan. 3.

Since the national spotlight is on us, we are uniquely positioned to drive home – in a big way – a vision of good government that puts communities before corporations and people before profits.

That’s why we’re asking you to print out and take the resolutions below  to your caucuses and work to get them adopted into the party platform.  Our resolutions are woven together by a common theme – that government needs to work for everyday people and the 99%, not big money corporate interests and the 1%.

Step 1: Print out the resolutions

Step 2: Find your caucus location

All caucuses begin at 7 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 3. It is recommended you get there 20-30 minutes early. You must be registered as a Democrat or a Republican to participate in the party’s caucus, but don’t worry you can register or re-register at the door. Just in case bring your photo ID and a document, like a bill, that proves where you live. If you’ll be 18 by election day (11/6/12), you can participate!

Step 3: Attend and work to get your resolution introduced

Resolutions are general presented towards the end. Be prepared to read it aloud. If passed resolutions work their way up through both party platforms. It’s a great way to show party leaders that we’re fed up with business as usual from Washington DC, Wall Street and at our Iowa Statehouse.

Step 4: Let us know how it goes!

Contact us at 515-282-0484 or shoot us a line at iowacci @ iowacci.org to let us know your resolution passed and what precinct you are in. Also, don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions. 

 

Please click “Like” or “Tweet” below to encourage your friends to take these caucus resolutions to their caucus!

 

With Pre-Caucus Focus on GOP Race, Occupy Movement Steps Up Activism in Iowa

 

CCI Executive Director Hugh Espey was interviewed on the Dec. 21, 2011 edition of Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. Watch the video here:

 

From the Democracy Now! website:

The Occupy movement is making its presence felt in Iowa ahead of the Iowa caucus, the nation’s first nominating contest for the 2012 presidential elections. Demonstrators have targeted the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters and the “Obama for America” office in recent days, protesting measures being considered in Washington dealing with defense spending, a planned oil pipeline and jobless benefits. Next they plan to focus on Republicans who will be crisscrossing the state in the next two weeks seeking voters’ support. “We think that we have a right to—a constitutional right to state our purpose and to call for and to address grievances that we have with the government and the corporate control over the government,” says Hugh Espey, the executive director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a 36-year-old grassroots organization with some 4,000 members. “These sorts of protest are going to continue, until we have a system that puts people before profits and communities before corporations.”

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“When old ladies in Iowa share the same concerns as kids on the street in Manhattan, it’s time those in power took note.”

 

Read this article online at www.yesmagazine.org

by Jonathan Matthew Smucker  posted Oct 18, 2011

Much has been made by some news outlets and pundits about the supposed “incoherence” of the Occupy Wall Street protests. “The protesters” don’t have a coherent message, we are told. They can’t even agree on any solutions. What the heck are they proposing?

This angle is wrong-headed. The strongest and most successful social movements in history have always tapped into multiple concerns that are important to different swaths of society, and often articulated in different ways. It’s not typically the responsibility of a broad movement to propose specific policy solutions—at least not at this stage in the process. It’s on us to create pressure to move society in a direction. When we do that successfully, windows will open to fight for this or that specific change. The bigger a movement we grow, the more pressure we create, the more substantial and meaningful those windows for measurable gains become.

The strongest and most successful social movements in history have always tapped into multiple concerns that are important to different swaths of society.

And historical perspective is not all that’s wrong with the “incoherence” frame. There’s a pretty damn clear coherence to Americans’ anger at Wall Street right now. If it doesn’t upset you that the top 1% is still making record-high profits and paying record-low taxes while the rest of us struggle just to survive, then I don’t know that I’ll be able to explain it to you. But I think most people feel it in their gut. That’s why us being here is resonating with so many people. That’s why this movement is drawing so much attention, and why I think it’s going to continue to gain momentum over time.

The momentum is really starting to spread beyond the “usual suspects.” It’s important to emphasize and encourage this. For example, while coastal occupation actions have drawn the most media attention so far, actions are also happening all across “Middle America,” from Ashland, Kentucky to Dallas, Texas to Ketchum, Idaho.

I just heard a first hand report about four hundred Iowans marching in Des Moines, Iowa as part of the October 15 international day of action. I’m working on the press team here at Occupy Wall Street, and I just got the chance to talk on the phone with Judy Lonning, a 69-year-old retired public school teacher who participated in the Des Moines action today. Here’s what she had to say:

People are suffering here in Iowa. Family farmers are struggling, students face mounting debt and fewer good jobs, and household incomes are plummeting. We’re not willing to keep suffering for Wall Street’s sins. People here are waking up and realizing that we can’t just go to the ballot box. We’re building a movement to make our leaders listen.

Cheers to that.

Jonathan Matthew Smucker wrote this article for Beyond The Choir, a forum for grassroots mobilization.