|Republic financial reform bill|
|Other key individuals|
- "This is a matter not of philosophy. More troops are needed. The Republic cannot afford to let the Separatists gain any more ground!"
- ―Senator Gume Saam
Around 21 BBY, the Galactic Senate of the Republic debated and voted upon a bill that allowed for the government to open new lines of credit with the InterGalactic Banking Clan. The legislation was a reactionary move which would allow for greater defense spending in order to counter the high death toll afflicting the Grand Army of the Republic in its fight against the Droid Army of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. The bill was written and proposed by the Ishi Tib Senator Gume Saam and received wide support, but raised questions regarding the ability of the Republic to receive loans from major galactic financial institutions. As an answer to those questions, Senator Saam included provisions in his bill that would essentially deregulate the institutions, allowing them to grant loans indiscriminately and apply to them high interest rates.
A number of representatives who were well-known for their anti-war stances spoke out against the bill, claiming that taking out more loans and deregulating the banks would ultimately bankrupt the Republic. The deregulation provision was the most heavily debated clause within the bill, but Senator Saam, Senator Lott Dod, and representative Nix Card were determined to see it pass, primarily because they all either represented or profited from conglomerates like the Banking Clan. The three met their staunchest opposition in the form of Naboo's Senator Padmé Amidala, whose call for peace talks nearly derailed the bill.
Saam, Dod, and Card refused to allow Amidala's peace rhetoric to prevail, and so used their covert association with Confederate Head of State Count Dooku to orchestrate an attack on the Republic capital world of Coruscant. Their plan worked, and following a bombing at the hands of Separatist demolition droids, the Senate approved the financial reform bill, thereby deregulating the banking system and rejecting the notion of a peaceful resolution to the Clone Wars. The approval was immediately followed by a successful push for an expansion of the military.
- Dod: "Bankruptcy is not necessary, my friends. If we pass Senator Saam's bill to open new lines of credit, we will gain access to the needed funds."
- Mothma: "Wouldn't this bill essentially deregulate the banks?"
- Burtoni: "A small price to pay to finance the war, is it not?"
- ―Senators Lott Dod, Mon Mothma, and Halle Burtoni[src]
The Republic financial reform bill was drafted with the primary purpose of funding the expansion of the Grand Army of the Republic. The legislation accomplished said task by allowing the Galactic Senate of the Republic to open new lines of credit with financial institutions, such as the InterGalactic Banking Clan. In order for the Banking Clan to be able to grant new loans, the bill included a provision that fundamentally deregulated the major galactic banks and allowed financial institutions to drastically modify their interest rates.
The cost of warEdit
- Saam: "Senator Amidala, are you suggesting we surrender to the Separatists?"
- Amidala: "Of course not! But negotiation might be a better course of action."
- Rab: "You can't negotiate with those animals! Keep the war going! Vote now!"
- ―Senators Gume Saam, Padmé Amidala, and Mot-Not Rab[src]
During the Separatist Crisis of 24 BBY–22 BBY, the corporate supporters of the fledgling Confederacy of Independent Systems contributed their massive droid security forces to form a military that could protect the interests of the new government. Simultaneously, the cloners of Kamino were developing a Grand Army for the Galactic Republic for the sake of preserving the age-old democracy. When war erupted between the two interstellar powers, the Republic was plunged into economic uncertainty, as the cost of waging the galaxy-spanning conflict was phenomenally high.
During the war, a number of corporations who had made agreements with Confederate Head of State Count Dooku still retained representation within the Republic Senate, due to the government's reliance on them or the inability of Republic officials to uncover hard evidence linking the organizations to the Separatists. Two such conglomerates were the Neimoidian-controlled Trade Federation and the Muun-run InterGalactic Banking Clan. These businesses were represented in the Republic by Senator Lott Dod and representative Nix Card, respectively, and they were joined in their warmongering by the Ishi Tib Senator Gume Saam, who was receiving financial compensation from the Confederate-allied Techno Union for his work in the Republic Congress. In the interest of both intensifying the war and relaxing government regulations on their constituents, Saam, Dod, and Card crafted the financial reform legislation. Saam presented the bill to the Senate during debates over troop surges, and sold it as a method with which to fund future expansions of the Republic's Armed Forces.
Around 21 BBY, an emergency session of the Senate was called in order to hold a formal debate over Saam's bill. During the gathering, many Senators proclaimed the importance of a strong military, but opposing arguments were brought to the floor by Alderaanian Senator Bail Prestor Organa. As an advocate of fiscal conservatism, he lobbied that any further expansion to the military would drain the Republic's already dwindling budget, but he was interrupted by Dod, who brought the session's focus back to Saam's legislation and its fiscal benefits. At that point, the debate dissolved into a free-for-all, with Senators yelling from their repulsorpods while they were still berthed within the walls of the Grand Convocation Chamber. Mon Mothma of Chandrila noted that the bill would remove all government oversight of the banking system, but she was shouted down by Republic defense hardliner Halle Burtoni. The debate only intensified when Naboo's delegate, Padmé Amidala, took to the chamber floor, bringing with her a message of disappointment in the discourse she was witnessing. Amidala claimed that the Senate's concern should not be continuing the war, but instead ending it peacefully.
Although she did have allies who agreed with her viewpoint, Amidala was quickly overwhelmed by Senators Saam and Mot-Not Rab, who accused her of advocating surrender. The two were able to work the Senate into a frenzy of calls for an immediate vote on the financial reform bill, but Organa was able to blunt the situation by asking that the formal vote be held off until delegates had time to consider if deregulation was the proper course of action for the Republic. Senate Vice Chair Mas Amedda granted his request and postponed the vote until a later date.
Motivation for deregulationEdit
- "I'm afraid we've been given little choice. To ensure the safety of the Republic, we must deregulate the banks."
- ―Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
Dod, Card, and Saam had all expected the emergency session to yield results, and were therefore disappointed by the cries for patience and contemplation that had postponed the vote. They all came to the conclusion that Senator Amidala was a major roadblock to their plans, but that the Senate would never vote to deregulate the banks, regardless of the Naboo politician's speeches—the war had not yet been palpable enough for the Coruscant bureaucracy, and therefore the Senate had not yet been frightened into deregulation. To rectify that problem, the three Senators contacted Count Dooku to request that he arrange an attack on the Republic capital world. The count, who wished for his corporate backers to continue reaping profits from the war, complied and asked that his military leader, General Grievous, plan the event.
Several days passed, and the Senate reconvened to conclude their discussion on the financial reform bill and begin discussion on a surprising development—the Separatist Parliament was suing for peace, and needed a positive response from the Republic Senate in order for deliberations to begin. Senator Amidala lauded the Confederate olive branch and asserted that, given the very realistic prospect of peace, a move to deregulate the banks was unnecessary. Bail Organa agreed with her claims, and Rodian Senator Onaconda Farr asked that the congressional delegates take an immediate vote to reject the deregulation of the InterGalactic Banking Clan.
The sentiment was common throughout the chamber, and as the votes were being tallied, it appeared as though Senator Saam's bill was to be defeated. However, just as Dooku and Grievous had arranged, several demolition droids broke into the control room of a Senate District power generator and detonated themselves, causing the generator to overload and discharge in explosions throughout the district. The result of the bombing was an immediate loss of power across the region, which prevented the Senate's vote from being completed. As the Senators waited in the red hue of the capital dome's emergency lights, they received word that the attack, which had taken the lives of several civilian engineers and wounded pedestrians throughout the district, was indeed an act of Separatist terrorism. Although Amidala tried to convince her colleagues the impossibility given the Confederacy's recent offer of peace, her pleas fell on deaf ears. The Senate instead chose to listen to Senator Saam, whose final call for deregulation and enhanced troop production was met with approval. A formal vote commenced, and the financial reform bill was approved.
Exploiting the circumstancesEdit
- Plain: "We will lend to the Republic at our standard rate of… twenty-five percent."
- Amidala: "What?!"
- Farr: "Twenty-five percent? That's outright theft!"
- Amidala: "Your previous arrangement with the Republic was ten percent!"
- Plain: "Please, please, that was before deregulation. The same rules don't apply, my dear."
- ―Mak Plain reveals the new Banking Clan interest rate to Amidala and Farr[src]
With the structure of financial law within the Republic drastically altered, the gates were opened for a flood of new spending resolutions and new banking policies. The Senate reconvened in the immediate aftermath of the power generator bombing to issue a formal response to the Separatist Parliament's peace initiative—the reaction to the proposal following the attack was, as Dooku predicted, extremely hostile. Senator Halle Burtoni took the opportunity to introduce a bill of her own that would appropriate funds for the purchase of five million clone troopers from her homeworld and constituent planet of Kamino. Senators Amidala and Organa joined forces with Senator Onaconda Farr to oppose the new, military-expanding legislation, but the three faced an uphill battle—the Republic legislators were in a frenzy to retaliate, and were willing to pay any price to fortify the Grand Army. Burtoni's bill made use of the newly-opened lines of credit from the InterGalactic Banking Clan, which, according to Bail Organa's estimates, would bankrupt the Republic.
Senators Amdidala and Farr met with Banking Clan official Mak Plain in order to discuss the hard numbers that were involved in the cost of Burtoni's bill. During the meeting, Plain revealed to the two that, in light of the recent approval of the deregulation bill, the InterGalactic Banking Clan would be applying an interest rate of twenty-five percent to all future Republic loans—a considerable jump from the previous rate of ten percent. Although a rate increase of one hundred and fifty percent would be enough to bankrupt the Republic, it was noted that the Confederacy had been presented with the same rate hike and accepted it in order to secure a loan for an additional three million battle droid units. Several days after the meeting, Senator Amidala made an impassioned speech to the Senate, urging her colleagues to reject the bill and put the money towards social services. Although she was well-received, the military enhancement bill passed. In the immediate aftermath of its approval, Amidala and Farr drafted a piece of counter-legislation that would have repealed the military expansion, but this too failed.
- "With or without Senator Amidala, the Galactic Senate is unlikely to deregulate the banks until this war hits home."
"What, exactly, are you proposing?"
"Perhaps some unexpected bloodshed on Coruscant may change a few minds."
- ―Senators Nix Card and Lott Dod
The Republic's financial reform bill was drafted and bankrolled by three politicians: Gume Saam, Lott Dod, and Nix Card. Saam was the official originator and author of the document, but he primarily acted as a mouthpiece to communicate Dod and Card's arguments for the bill to the entirety of the Senate. Although the three publicly claimed that their advocacy for the bill stemmed from their dedication to the defense of the Republic, it was truthfully the result of their desire for increased profits—Dod was the Senatorial representative for the Trade Federation, Card was a lobbyist for the InterGalactic Banking Clan, and Saam was a recipient of kickbacks from the Techno Union. As those three mega-corporations held political and economic influence over both belligerents, they reaped outstanding profits from the progress of the war and had a vested interest in its continuation. By Card's own estimates, the passage of the bill meant billions in increased profits for all three companies, specifically due to the deregulation provision.
The legislation did earn the support of other Senators who approved of the bill for various reasons—Senator Burtoni was a defense hardliner who was constantly seeking to further her own planet's interests; Mot-Not Rab and Zinn Paulness were both outraged by the Confederate bombing and demanded approval of the bill as a result. Those Senators, however, were not aware of the role that Dod, Saam, and Card had played in the bombing. According to Count Dooku, Palpatine also wished to see the bill approved, although the Supreme Chancellor was quiet on the issue while in the public eye.
Advocates of fiscal conservatismEdit
- "Our generals inform us that troops in the field continue to perform valiantly. What we cannot afford is to be irresponsible. The Republic is near bankruptcy due to the cost of this war!"
- ―Senator Bail Organa
Many of the Senators who formed the opposition party to the legislation did so on the basis of fiscal conservatism. Although they agreed with Senator Amidala that negotiations should be pursued, they focused their arguments around the financial damage the reform bill would have on the Republic economy. Alderaan's senator, Bail Prestor Organa, was the most vocal member of the opposition, and was joined in his fight by Senators Mon Mothma and Onaconda Farr. Organa argued that the clone troopers whom the Republic had enlisted prior to the bill's passage were performing valiantly, according to the generals in the field, and that additional forces were not immediately needed. He instead proposed that the Republic faced a greater danger from the Senate's financial irresponsibility than it did from the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
When the Separatist Parliament issued an offer of peace, Organa and Farr took the opportunity to quell the reform bill. The two very nearly succeeded, but the bombing of the power generator interrupted the vote and swayed the other delegates to approve the legislation. Regardless, the two senators continued their fight against increased spending when Halle Burtoni proposed her military enhancement bill. During that renewed debate, they were joined by Senator Amidala, and the three actively lobbied against Burtoni in meetings with fellow politicians.
Senator Amidala seeks a separate peaceEdit
- "Members of the Senate, do you hear yourselves? More money, more clones, more war! Say nothing of fiscal responsibility, what about moral responsibility? Hasn't this war gone on long enough?"
- ―Senator Padmé Amidala
Of all the Senators prominently involved in the debate over the financial reform bill, Padmé Amidala was the only one who approached the issue with a peaceful focus. While her allies conducted their arguments with attention to cost, budgets, and debt, Amidala tried to convince her colleagues that a cessation of hostilities would preempt the need for financial reform for the sake of increased troop levels. The Naboo Senator made little headway early on, as she was seen primarily as a partisan who stood against any military enhancement or action—she had led the fight against the pre–Clone Wars Military Creation Act, introduced the evidence that defeated the Mandalore Defense Resolution, and made a call for peace when she was asked to be the keynote speaker at a conference on the growing refugee crisis. When she first came to the Senate floor to offer her opinion on the reform bill, she was quickly attacked by defense hardliners such as Mot-Not Rab, who accused her of advocating surrender. Following the first emergency session, Amidala decided to take a different path.
Politicians within the Galactic Senate had been barred from communicating with Senators and other representatives who had defected from the Republic when their constituents had seceded from the government. Nevertheless, Amidala was determined to meet with Mina Bonteri, her former mentor and a member of the Separatist Parliament. Using the diplomatic status of her friend and political protege, Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, Amidala traveled to the Confederate capital planet of Raxus and met with Bonteri. After convincing her old friend that the Republic Senate would be open to negotiations if the Separatist Parliament were to extend the olive branch first, Bonteri agreed to bring a motion for peace to her congress. Although the idea was hotly debated within the Confederate Congress, the delegates ultimately chose to sue for peace. Amidala returned to Coruscant with high hopes, but the idea of a Confederate push for peace was met with skepticism by a number of Republic leaders—namely Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and the supporters of the financial reform bill. Following the bombing, the Senate chose to reject the offer and ultimately believed it was nothing more than a ploy to lower the Republic's defenses so the strike on the power generator would have a greater chance of success.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Republic's financial reform bill was first seen in "Heroes on Both Sides", an episode in the third season of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series with an original airdate of November 19, 2010. The legislation served as the driving force behind the show's events, and its effects were depicted in the following episode, "Pursuit of Peace," which aired on December 3 of the same year. In spite of being such a prominent factor in both episodes, the bill has yet to be given an official title in Star Wars canon.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Heroes on Both Sides" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Pursuit of Peace" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine 2
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.15
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.16
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded (Indirect mention only)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Heroes on Both Sides"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Star Wars Annual 2011
- ↑ The Unknown Regions
- ↑ Cloak of Deception
- ↑ 5.0 5.1
- ↑ 7.0 7.1
- ↑ The Force Unleashed novel
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Pursuit of Peace"
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Senate Spy"
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2
- ↑ Leland Chee on twitter.com
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Senate Murders"
- ↑ Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Duchess of Mandalore"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Assassin"