Big Bank Lobbyists Fighting Financial Reform Outnumber Pro-Reform Lobbyists by 11-1

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Big Bank Lobbyists Fighting Financial Reform Outnumber Pro-Reform Lobbyists by 11-1

New Public Citizen Report Shows Firepower Wall Street Is Bringing to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON - Wall Street is pulling out the stops to get a financial reform bill that changes as little as possible.

Since the beginning of 2009, nearly 1,000 lobbyists have worked on
at least one of nine key bills designed to rewrite the rules governing
derivatives, a new Public Citizen report shows.

These lobbyists have overwhelmingly represented organizations
opposing or attempting to water down proposed regulation, according to
Public Citizen’s analysis of lobbying disclosure data filed with the
U.S. House of Representatives.

Lobbyists representing opponents of strong derivatives reform have
outnumbered pro-reform lobbyists by more than 11-to-1 (903 to 79
lobbyists). Among the clients represented by the anti-reform lobbyists
were the nation’s five largest banks, several major financial trade
associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Wall Street is fighting hard to keep its casino open for business,”
said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch
division. “They want to keep making risky bets, awarding themselves
billions in bonuses and running to Uncle Sam for handouts when they
lose. Their position is ridiculous and discredited, so it’s not
surprising that they would hire nearly a thousand lobbyists to drown
out reform advocates.”

The Senate Wall Street reform bill includes relatively aggressive
derivatives regulation approved by the Agriculture Committee. The
current draft would push most derivatives trading onto open exchanges
or clearinghouses, and would deny federal deposit insurance to
derivatives traders. This latter requirement would force commercial
banks to spin their derivatives trading operations off into independent
companies, although they would be able to remain under the same holding
company. Wall Street is lobbying furiously to eliminate or undermine
these provisions.

“Lawmakers should mind the advocacy disparity on derivatives and
work to give fair consideration to the pro-reform side,” Arkush said.
“A small number of organizations are completely outgunned, but unlike
like big bank lobbyists, they represent tens of millions of real
people.”

The report is available at http://www.citizen.org/documents/DerivativesLobbyistsReport.pdf.

 

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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