WASHINGTON, DC — Further fueling the corporate judge shopping crisis, late Friday, Washington D.C.-based Financial Services Institute (FSI) and New York City-based Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) sued the Biden administration in the Northern District of Texas aiming to block the U.S. Labor Department’s final rule cracking down on junk fees in retirement investment advice – an effort that will add up to 20% to the average retirement savings for a middle-class saver by the time they reach retirement. 

The groups representing Wall Street investment advisors and banks sued in the jurisdiction of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the right-wing court that frequently sides with industry over regulators, including an early June ruling in favor of wealthy private-equity and hedge fund managers that sued to block Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations adopted last year which boost transparency between private fund advisers and investors regarding fees, expenses, and performance; and bans certain practices contrary to the public interest like undisclosed preferential treatment.  

Wall Street special interests are once again employing the U.S. Chamber’s playbook and going judge shopping in a federal jurisdiction widely regarded as a corporate haven. If judges in the Fifth Circuit pipeline play along, it could mean retirement advisors never have to put their clients’ best interests ahead of their own. If big bank CEOs get their way in this case, it would mean less retirement security and up to 20 percent less savings for many Americans. As the industry attempts to strong-arm its way out of crucial regulation, the Biden administration is pressing forward to lower costs for American families by ensuring every person receives the same quality of advice."

Caroline Ciccone, Accountable.US President

“This lawsuit is the latest reminder that judge shopping threatens the credibility of our judiciary and undermines regulators working to protect everyday Americans from industry greed and abuse,” added Ciccone. “It’s a purely political strategy that far-right extremists and big corporate CEOs have used and abused to manipulate the judicial system for political and financial gain at the expense of everyday Americans. It’s why the vast majority of Americans support solutions to curb judge shopping — from congressional action to formal action from the Judicial Conference.”

In recent months, far-right judges in the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction have ruled in favor of predatory lenders, discriminatory big banks, greedy credit card issuers – with Big Pharma likely soon to follow. There is no mystery why the corporate-funded U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed lawsuits challenging federal regulations in district courts under the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction 63 percent of the time since January 2017, an Accountable.US analysis found.


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