|John J. LaFalce|
Congressman LaFalce retired from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 after 28 years in Congress, and 34 total years of public service. He is now Special Counsel to HoganWillig, and Distinguished University Fellow at Niagara University. Previously, he was the Peter Canisius Distinguished University Professor at Canisius College (2003-2006).
Throughout his Congressional career, Congressman LaFalce served on both the Committee on Small Business, which he chaired from 1987 through 1994, and the Committee on Banking and Financial Services, on which he was the ranking member from 1998 through 2002. He was the leader in Congressional efforts to modernize our nation's complex financial services systems, serving as the Clinton Administration's point person in passing the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, for which he and Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin earned the American Financial Leadership Award from the Financial Services Roundtable. Congressman LaFalce also played the key leadership and prime mover role in introducing and championing what ultimately became the Sarbanes-Oxley law, signed by President Bush in July 2002. The former Chief Accountant for the SEC said: "It may bear the name Sarbanes-Oxley, but it has the heart and intent of Congressman John LaFalce".
When Congressman LaFalce introduced the first bill reforming corporate accounting, governance, and securities legislation in 2001, long before Enron, he also introduced the Predatory Lending Protection Act of 2001, dealing with abusive mortgage lending practices. He warned then that in the absence of good regulation and supervision, a federal law prohibiting abusive practices was necessary to prevent an explosion of foreclosures.
During his 28 years in Congress, Congressman LaFalce served on the Canadian-American Interparliamentary Conference, along with legislators from Canada such as Bill Graham, Bob Rae, Lloyd Axworthy and Mike Wilson. He chaired extensive hearings and then became the primary House champion of the Canadian-American Free Trade Agreement, working closely with Ambassador Derek Burney, Prime Minister Mulroney and others. In 1989, the United States National Conference on the Canadian-American Free Trade Agreement was held, due in large part to Congressman LaFalce's legislative work, in his district in Niagara Falls, New York. Almost 3000 small businesses attended, and luminaries such as USTR Carla Hills and Canadian Ambassador Derek Burney gave keynote addresses.
In 1994, after the passage of NAFTA, Congressman LaFalce founded the Northern Border Caucus, which he chaired for 10 years. This Caucus became the principal focal point for discussing and promoting the Canadian/American bilateral relationship and all its attendant issues.
In his capacity as Chairman of the Northern Border Caucus he alerted members to the problems of Section 110 of the Immigration Act of 1996, introduced the House Bill to repeal it, and worked with Congress and the private sector until legislation was passed addressing the issues.
He also championed enhanced appropriations for both technological and public infrastructure improvements, and personnel increases along the northern border, and held monthly meetings with US and Canadian officials to help facilitate traffic on the border crossings. Among those he worked with were Canadian Ambassadors, such as Derek Burney, John DeChastelain, Raymond Chretien and Michael Kergin and Cabinet Ministers such as Paul Martin and John Manley.
After his retirement from Congress, Congressman LaFalce became a member of the Senior Advisory Board of the Canadian-American Business Council, along with all past United States Ambassadors to Canada, and all past Canadian Ambassadors to the United States. He is also Honorary Chair of The Canadian American Border Trade Alliance. He also served on Columbia University's Steering Committee on the Canadian/American Assembly, along with former U.S. Ambassadors Tom Niles and James Blanchard, former Prime Minister Joe Clark, former Deputy Prime Minister John Manley, etc.
The Canadian Government recently retained Congressman LaFalce to tutor their Deputy Ministers and Assistant Deputy Ministers in Ottawa on various border issues; Microsoft Canada had Congressman LaFalce address their annual conference for business leaders in Toronto.
Congressman LaFalce graduated from Villanova Law School in 1964, and was admitted to the bar that same year. He was cited by Congressional Quarterly as "one of the smartest members of Congress", has been awarded four Honorary Doctorate Degrees, was given the first Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award by the University of Buffalo School of Law, and was given the Liberty Bell Award from the Erie County Bar Association for his significant contributions to government.
Congressman LaFalce is a Director of State Bancorp, Inc. and The State Bank of Long Island and continues to serve the community through a variety of public service activities, serving on many Boards, including: The New York State Banking Board, The Advisory Board to the Rochester Institute of Technology Center on Consumer Financial Services, the Individual Investor Advisory Board to the New York Stock Exchange, the Senior Advisory Board to both the Canadian American Business Council and the Canadian American Border Trade Alliance, Honorary Chair of the Binational Tourism Alliance, a member of The Bretton Woods Committee, the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, the Board of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Board of New Jobs for New York, Inc., (created by Senator Hillary Clinton), the Advisory Council to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the National Advisory Board of Democrats for Life of America, the Board of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Honorary Director of The Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern, the Executive Committee of Citizens for Better Buffalo, Honorary Chairman of Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County, and Honorary Director of the Western New York Law Center.