Small businessman George Pieper blasts Dino Rossis call for financial reform repeal.
  • E.S.
  • Small businessman George Pieper blasts Dino Rossi's call for financial reform repeal.

How to humanize the debate over financial reform in this state's U.S. Senate race?

Today the Washington State Democrats gave it their best, camping out on the sidewalk outside of Eastside Commercial Bank in Bellevue. For those not up on Senate race arcana, that's the bank that Rossi co-founded and still has a stake in—even though it was recently found by the Federal Comptroller of the Currency to be "engaged in unsafe and unsound banking practices."

"Dino Rossi's not on our side if he wants to repeal Wall Street reform," said Democratic spokesperson Sadie Weiner. "He stands with big banks and corporate lobbyists over Washington families."

Eastside Commercial Bank
  • E.S.
  • Eastside Commercial Bank
George Pieper, small business owner, took the lectern and lamented all the trouble he's had with his lenders of late. "We lived with deregulation," Pieper said. "We saw what that did." He said the financial industry needs more regulation, not less, and that "without Wall Street reform I don't see it happening."

Ok. But even with Rossi calling for a repeal, Wall Street reform is, in fact happening. So why protest outside his bank, which is closer to a small local business than it is to a big Wall Street powerhouse? How, exactly, do those dots connect?

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"This bank is under capital directive for engaging in unsafe and unsound practice," Weiner said. "By saying he'd repeal Wall Street reform and owning a bank that's engaged in these predatory practices, what message does it send except: 'I'm not on your side'?"

The Rossi campaign did not respond to requests for comment.