10 Questions for Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

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Ken Lewis, the CEO of Bank of America, has been called on to the carpet: he’ll be testifying at a hearing of Ed Towns’ Oversight and Government Reform committee today. The Service Employees International Union passes on ten questions it thinks committee members should ask Lewis:

1. How can you commit to pay for former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo’s legal defense—“a million a month” according to Bloomberg—while Bank of America announced layoffs for 35,000 employees and refuses cost-of-living raises for its lowest-wage workers?

2. Why do you nickel and dime your lowest paid workers (tellers earn $10.50/hour without access to affordable health insurance) at the same time you shower lavish perks and deals for executives and traders?

3. As Bank of America employees speak out about unpaid overtime and a predatory sales culture, what do you plan to do to improve employment practices?

4. Given dismal economic performance, low-staff morale, and a core business model of pushing debt on consumers, what has Bank of America done to meet its stated goal of being “the world’s most admired company?”

5. After reportedly receiving tax breaks, and more than $195 billion in bailouts, government guarantees, and taxpayer-funded healthcare for its workers, what is Bank of America’s plan to reduce its dependence on the U.S.taxpayer?

6. After being bailed out by hard-working taxpayers facing the toughest economic times since the Great Depression, do you think it’s right for Bank of America to lobby against laws that would helps working families—like the Employee Free Choice Act, healthcare reform, and credit card reform?

7. As you argue against any laws that would create greater transparency in the industry, could you tell us what other calamities on your books you are hiding? First it was the Merrill Lynch deal—what’s the next shoe to drop?

8. During your time as CEO, at what point did cutting costs and gouging customers with unnecessary products and skyrocketing fees become more important than customer satisfaction?

9. At a time when people are struggling, have you considered lowering banking and overdraft fees that are already higher than many other non-bailed-out banks?

10. Why do you create incentives for Bank of America employees to push further debt on customers?

This should get good. You can watch live here.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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