Giannoulias accuses Kirk of favoring Wall Street

Apr. 25, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Giannoulias said Sunday that Congressman Mark Kirk (R-10th) is supporting the Wall Street firms that brought the economy to its knees.

Democrat candidate Giannoulias, whose family's bank was taken over by the government Friday, is on the offensive, charging that Republican Mark Kirk has been too cozy for too long with big banks that have thumbed their noses at Main Street.

Kirk has said the accusations are ridiculous coming from someone who was part of a family bank that went bust amid questionable business practices.

The Hellenic Independence Day Parade Sunday gave Giannoulias an opportunity to shake hands with friends and take swings at Kirk.

"The bottom line is that Mark Kirk sells his votes to the highest bidders on Wall Street, protecting bonuses for the bargain price of campaign contributions," said Giannoulias.

Giannoulias charged that Kirk is dragging his feet on a pledge to return campaign contributions the Republican congressman has received from Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs.

A spokesperson for Kirk said the congressman is voluntarily returning roughly $20,000 in campaign money to Goldman Sachs employees, and that "Giannoulias is desparately trying to change the subject from his reckless business practices that led to the failure of Broadway Bank."

Giannoulias denied trying to dodge or change the subject, but argued that the bigger picture is that the big banks got breaks when the economy collapsed.

Senate investigators suggest that internal Goldman Sachs emails from 2007 show the bank was profiting by betting against the housing market. That assertion will be front and center during financial reform hearings this week in Washington.

Giannoulias is trying to portray Kirk as being strongly connected with Wall Street big boys.

"The banks are at issue," said Giannoulias. "The greater concern is what happens with Wall Street reforms this week."

The Kirk campaign says the congressman is "erring on the side of caution" in returning 2010 election cycle contributions to individual employees of Goldman Sachs even though the employees are not accused of wrongdoing.

A spokesman for Kirk pinned the blame for Broadway Bank's collapse on the state treasurer, saying that "Giannoulias is trying to change the subject from his reckless business practices that led to the failure of Broadway Bank."

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