“He's a respected voice,” Jeff Merkley, who serves on the Senate Banking Committee, said last month. “That comes from his experience inside the system, but also his independence. . . . He wants to see a financial system that will have a robust foundation, and he wants to put the life experience he had to work in that effort.” Merkley went on, “You have Goldman Sachs and others hiring legions of lobbyists to come down here and spin the story so they can keep on doing business as usual. People were asking, ‘How valid is the stuff we are hearing from the big banks on Wall Street?' . . . We needed that type of honest broker, and Volcker filled that role. He would say, ‘No, the banks are wrong about that.' ”
Jeff Merkley was the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives and weighing a challenge to the Republican incumbent, Gordon Smith, when Schumer summoned him to Brooklyn in early 2007. ... "Smith's standard operating procedure had been to spend money early, to damage the reputations of the people who ran against him," Merkley said. "Chuck was emphatic. He said anytime I was attacked I had to respond within twenty-four hours. And he was clear that the D.S.C.C. would be there for me financially. They would be there until I could raise the money to respond. And he kept his word to me."