US Attorney Presses Charges Against “Covington Seven” Homeowners Who Protested Revolving Door Between Government, Big Banks
Washington DC – U.S. Attorney Ron Machen is pressing charges against seven homeowners who were arrested last Wednesday during a protest demanding Wall Street accountability in the foreclosure crisis. In the culmination of three days of action last week, homeowners marched on May 22nd from Freedom Plaza to Covington & Burling, LLC, a firm that epitomizes the revolving door between government and Wall Street interests, in a protest that involved shutting down the firm’s lobby.
Last Wednesday’s march followed the “Bring Justice to Justice” protest on Monday, May 20th, which saw hundreds of homeowners in foreclosure organized under the Home Defenders League and Occupy Homes march from Freedom Plaza to the Department of Justice. After establishing an Occupy-style tent encampment in front of the main entrance of the Department of Justice, protesters blocked the intersection of 9th St. and Constitution Ave. in front of the Justice Department, drawing 17 arrests.
Early Tuesday morning, police descended on the foreclosure encampment in an effort to break it up, arresting ten more foreclosed-on homeowners. A total of 34 homeowners were arrested last week, including those arrested at Wednesday’s action at Covington & Burling. Five of the homeowners arrested on Monday and Tuesday, who had come from cities including Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, and Seattle, were tased by arresting officers.
Covington & Burling, a major international law firm, highlights the frequency with which public officials transition between public and private employment—often working for the same firms that they were responsible for investigating while in government service. Covington represents or has represented JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS and other major banks. Attorney General Eric Holder was a partner at the firm before joining the Justice Department and former Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who left his post in March, has joined Covington & Burling as Vice Chair.
Last week’s actions came on the heels of a new report released by the Home Defenders League, Alliance for a Just Society, and the New Bottom Line, “Wasted Wealth,” which found that communities of color lost almost $200 billion in wealth from foreclosures in 2012 alone. The report calls for a robust program of principal reduction to reset mortgages to fair market values—calls echoed by protesters at Monday’s event.
For photos of last week’s events, see the #m20 #j2j #justice2justice hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and other social media.
The Home Defenders League is a national organization fighting against foreclosures and for a just resolution to the mortgage crisis including the mass principal reduction for underwater homeowners. The League includes 24 community-based affiliates, Occupy Homes groups, and organizing networks including the Alliance for a Just Society, Right to the City Alliance and thousands of member families across the country.