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Mary Bottari, Center for Media and Democracy's Deputy Director is an experienced policy wonk and consumer advocate. When "too-big-to-fail" financial service institutions collapsed the global economy, like most Americans, Mary was steamed. When financial reform legislation started winding its way through Congress, Wall Street wizardry put too many of the policy debates out of reach of average Americans. Mary launched the "Real Economy" project at CMD, where she has worked hard to demystify complex issues (synthetic derivatives anyone?) and give average Americans a role in shaping the policy solutions being debated in Congress.
To engage the netroots, she launched the BanksterUSA.org website. At BanksterUSA she gained a following for making complex banking issues simple and fun, and for poking fun at the big banks and government officials for their weak reform proposals and outrageous efforts to spin the financial crisis. When the big banks tried to tidy up their images with ridiculous PR campaigns she coined the term "greedwashing" and started giving big bank spinmeisters "Golden Throne" awards (yes that kind of throne) in commemoration of Merrill Lynch's $2 million bathroom redo.
Her project publishes the only monthly tally of the Total Wall Street Bailout Cost ($4.7 trillion with $2 trillion outstanding) in the SourceWatch wiki, CMD's flagship publication with over 6 million visitors a year. This work has been used by CNN, Bill Moyers Journal, MSNBC, and is featured in Dollars and Sense Magazine.
Prior to coming to CMD, Mary worked for ten years as senior analyst in Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch Division publishing many studies on financial services, health care policy, toxics regulation, food safety and the environment. She worked in politics for many years, in the Wisconsin Senate and in the U.S. Senate as press secretary to U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband John Nichols, of The Nation, and daughter.
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