Martin O'Malley
Martin O'Malley

WASHINGTON -- As he begins a two-day swing through Iowa today, Martin O'Malley is laying out a populist call to bolster Wall Street regulations in a Des Moines Register op-ed.

The former Maryland governor, who is attempting to stake out a position to the left of presumed 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton, has been calling for reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, the 1933 regulations that put up a wall between commercial and investment banking.

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O'Malley never mentions the political subtext -- because he doesn't have to. The regulations were repealed through legislation signed by President Bill Clinton.

"If that law hadn't been repealed in 1999, the crash would have been contained," O'Malley writes the op-ed. "Structural reforms aren't enough. We must bring fundamental change to the culture of Wall Street, beginning with real accountability."

The former Maryland governor, who has said he will make a decision this spring on whether to seek the Democratic nomination, is meeting with Democrats in Scott, Cedar and Pottawattamie counties in the first-in-the-nation nominating state over the next two days.

He has been a frequent presence in early presidential states since leaving Annapolis earlier this year.

O'Malley, who was elected Baltimore's mayor 10 days before President Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall provisions, is hoping to court liberal voters with a Wall Street message that, so far, has been carried mostly by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Despite support from progressive groups, Warren has repeatedly waved off the idea of a presidential run.

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