Fernand St. Germain

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Fernand Joseph St Germain
Fernand St. Germain.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1989
Preceded byAime Forand
Succeeded byRonald Machtley
Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
In office
1952–1961
Personal details
Born(1928-01-09)January 9, 1928
Blackstone, Massachusetts
DiedAugust 16, 2014(2014-08-16) (aged 86)
Newport, Rhode Island
Political partyDemocratic Party
Alma materProvidence College
Boston University Law School
OccupationAttorney

Fernand Joseph St Germain (January 9, 1928 – August 16, 2014) was an American politician from Rhode Island. He was a member of the Democratic Party and served in the Rhode Island House of Representatives and the U.S. Representative. He is best known for his sponsorship of the Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act, which deregulated the savings and loan industry.

Biography[edit]

Born in Blackstone, Massachusetts, he was raised and attended parochial schools in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He graduated from Our Lady of Providence Seminary High School, 1945, and from Providence College in 1948 and served in the United States Army from 1949 to 1952. St Germain did not spell his name with a period saying that he was no saint.[1]

In 1952, at the age of 24, St Germain won a seat in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Three years later, he graduated from Boston University Law School and was admitted to the bar.[1]

In 1960, he was elected to Congress, where he would serve 14 terms. He later joined the Committee on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, becoming the committee chairman in 1981. In 1982, he and Senator Jake Garn sponsored the Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act. One of the act’s primary features was its deregulation of the savings and loan industry. Although the provisions of the act were to protect thrift savings institutions from rapidly rising interest rates by allowing them to offer new deposit accounts and make additional types of loans, its loosening of regulations may have been a contributing factor to Savings and loan crisis.[1]

In 1985, St Germain was accused of using his office for personal benefit. The Wall Street Journal published an investigation into the Congressman’s finances. The Journal examined his financial disclosures and found that he was able to secure no-down-payment loans of $1.3 million to acquire several International House of Pancakes restaurants even though he only had a salary of $42,500 per year.[2][1]

An aide in St Germain’s office contacted federal regulators repeatedly about the application of Florida Federal Savings and Loan to convert to stock ownership. After the application was approved, St Germain made a $15,000 investment in the company’s stock. The chairman of the S&L told the Journal that he did offer St Germain access to real estate deals Not available to the general public but contended that he did not request assistance with the application.[2]

The Justice Department and the House Ethics Committee both declines to pursue charges against him, however, the controversy factored into his 1986 and 1988 re-election efforts. In 1986, Republican John Holmes gave him his first tough race in many years, taking 42% of the vote. But St Germain had to spend more than twice what he had in the prior election. Holmes attacked him for taking $35,000 from a developer.[3][4]

Republican Ron Machtley defeated him in November in a campaign that was notable for Machtley taking a live pig on the campaign trail.[1] [5]

Death[edit]

A resident of Newport, Rhode Island, St Germain died of kidney failure on August 16, 2014 at his home in Newport.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Fernand St Germain, Legislator Tied to S.&L. Crisis, Dies at 86". New York Times. 2014-08-21.
  2. ^ a b "St. Germain Defends Finances". New York Times. 1985-09-12.
  3. ^ "Congressman in Hard, Costly Race in Rhode Island". New York Times. 1986-11-04.
  4. ^ "The Race for Congress; St Germain Is Pursued By Rival and Questions". New York Times. 1988-11-02.
  5. ^ Dendy, Dallas L. (1989). "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election of November 8, 1988" (PDF). Office of the Clerk. U.S. House of Representatives.
  6. ^ Linda Borg. "Former RI Congressman Fernand St Germain has died". Providence Journal. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  7. ^ Bernstein, Adam (18 August 2014). "Former congressman Fernand J. St Germain dies at 86". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 23 April 2018.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Aime Forand
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 1st congressional district

1961–1989
Succeeded by
Ronald Machtley
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry S. Reuss
Wisconsin
Chairman of the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee
1981–1989
Succeeded by
Henry B. Gonzalez
Texas

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.