William Proxmire

Sen. William Proxmire

Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee; U.S. Senator (D-Wisconsin)

Senator William Proxmire represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate from 1957 to 1989. During that time, he served as chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs from 1975 to 1981 as well as from 1987 to 1989. Proxmire refused campaign contributions during his 31 years in the Senate. After his retirement in 1989, Proxmire stayed active as a syndicated columnist and broadcaster, commenting on the Keating Five and other scandals of the day. He was adamant that the system was to blame. He believed that – mistakenly or not – senators thought they had to raise substantial sums of money to have a shot at re-election. Proxmire also blamed the regulators, who he viewed as neglectful in their duties, so that the Senate and nation did not appreciate the extent of the problem until it was too late. At the end of his term, Proxmire began to push for Congressional intervention in the crisis, regretting that he had not acted earlier and done more.