Crisis, Scandal and Financial Reform During the New Deal
Michael A. Perino
St. John's University School of Law
May 8, 2012
St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-0004
This chapter in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the New Deal provides a brief overview of the major financial reform legislation passed during the first term of the Roosevelt administration. After describing the structural flaws in the pre-New Deal regulatory landscape, the chapter illustrates how the stock market crash of 1929, the onset Great Depression, and the banking crisis of 1933 helped create the climate in which financial reform could pass. In particular, it highlights the crucial role that the Senate investigation of Wall Street — commonly known as the Pecora investigation, after its chief counsel, Ferdinand Pecora — played in building the clamor for financial reform. The chapter then catalogs the major banking and securities legislation adopted during the Roosevelt administration’s first term and demonstrates the transient nature of the political moments that crises and scandals create. In the immediate aftermath of the crisis, reform proposals passed with little effective opposition. As the crisis receded, however, organized lobbying efforts grew more powerful and were often successful in diminishing reform proposals.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Date posted: May 8, 2012