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ACORN rallies for taxpayer protections in bailout bill

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(KWMU photo)
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Members of the activist group ACORN rally in front of the Federal Reserve Building downtown

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A group of community activists is demanding that any bailout of the nation's financial institutions includes help for average homeowners as well.

About a dozen ACORN members rallied in front of the downtown St. Louis headquarters of the Federal Reserve Tuesday to make their point.

The group isn't opposed to the $700 billion Congress wants to provide to stabilize the financial markets, said ACORN spokeswoman Lynn Oldham. The group just wants to ensure that homeowners - the taxpayers who are funding the bailout - get help too.

ACORN wants any institution that participates in the buyout to automatically restructure the mortgages of any homeowners facing foreclosure. They also want increased regulation of Wall Street and oversight of the Treasury Department, which will handle the bailout.

Missouri Republican Senator Kit Bond plans to push to include some of those demands. Bond informed his colleagues during a floor speech Tuesday that he wants amendments giving Treasury secretary Henry Paulson the ability to reduce the pay of CEO's whose companies participate in the bailout. He'll also call for more transparency and greater protection for taxpayers.

"We cannot write a 700, a 700 billion dollar blank check, hand it over to unelected officials, and not ask for any accountability," Bond said. I believe if we do this properly, the cost will be far, far less."

President Bush is demanding that Congress pass a bill without a lot of extras.

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