TLP:The Banks Declined to Comment

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 , , 0 Comments

bank lobbying
Got to love open records.

AP via The Washington Post:
The 10 banks that received the most bailout aid during the financial crisis spent over $16 million on lobbying efforts in the first half of 2010, as the debate over financial regulatory reform reached its height.

Disclosure reports show that the banks that got the most government help in late 2008 and early 2009 also invested the most to influence members of Congress, the White House, the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and a long list of federal agencies as new rules were enacted governing Wall Street and the nation's financial system.

"I'm not shocked that they spent that much money because I saw them every day," said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at U.S. Public Interest Research Group, who said more than 2,000 lobbyists worked on the financial reform bill. ...

The $16.32 million spent in the first half of 2010 was 26 percent higher than the combined $12.94 million they spent in the first half of 2009.

In prior years, the spending crept up at a much slower pace: 2009's total was about 2 percent higher than the nearly $12.7 million spent in the first half of 2008. And that was only 3.7 percent above the $12.25 million spent in the first half of 2007.
The top three lobbying spenders were JPMorgan Chase, putting out more than $3 million in the first half of the year; Citigroup, with $2.78 million spent on lobbying; and Goldman Sachs at $2.77 million. Topping $2 million each in lobbyist fees were Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

The American Bankers Association doled out $4.2 million to lobby for the industry, while the top four consumer groups combined spent less than $800,000 on lobbyists during crunch time in the reform process.

More from AP:
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the heavy spending in part reflects the number of people needed to discuss issues with 535 members of Congress. One sentence in a law regulating the financial markets can have a big impact on a company's profit, she noted, and the industry made sure they had experts on hand to discuss every aspect with lawmakers.

"We're talking billions," Sloan said. "So the lobbying money is the most effective money you'll spend."

"It's not that I don't think that many would have preferred a different outcome," she added. "But I doubt that any of those banks didn't think it was worth it to have those lobbyists."
So now you know. Of course, it's hard to control that kind of thing, unless lobbying itself is reformed. And lobbyists would probably work the Hill for free.

The Lazy Paperboy

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.