Financial services regulation coming – lobbyists get wedgie
Bachus [R] and Frank [D] receive the most million$ from financial sector
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Kicking off the latest chapter of this year’s Full Employment Act for K Street Lobbyists, representatives from a surfeit of industries descended on an influential Congressional committee as it began writing law overhauling the nation’s regulatory system.
In a lobbying season already booming with business from battles over health care, firms are also closely monitoring the debate over Washington’s response to the market crisis. The financial services industry has poured more than $220 million into lobbying in 2009, much of it in anticipation of this Congressional effort now beginning. As usual for major financial services legislation, lawmakers have heard an earful from small community banks and large Wall Street banks, as well as from insurance companies, credit card companies, credit unions, mutual funds and hedge funds…
Gazing across a hearing room jammed Wednesday morning with lobbyists and lawyers, Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, made an observation about a proposed amendment that some lobbyists interpreted as a comment about the keen interest of their clients.
“Watching sausage being made and watching legislation being made isn’t always attractive,” Mr. Frank said.
Even though President Obama vowed to change the culture of corporate influence on Washington, the administration has contributed, albeit inadvertently, to making this a banner year for lobbyists. As the White House has awakened the alphabet soup of federal agencies from their deregulatory slumber of the previous eight years, lobbying shops have emerged to fight for their clients’ newfound interests.
In the case of financial overhaul legislation, the corporate interests have particular sway with moderate and conservative Democrats, whose votes are essential for the legislation to progress through Congress. So far the lobbyists have been moderately successful in influencing the contours of the legislation, judging by the ever-growing list of exemptions from tougher oversight of derivatives and from supervision by the proposed consumer financial protection agency.
In other words, as much as we hope to have gained by electing someone to clean house, we still have to remove the rest of the vermin from the nest.
Business as usual in Congress – since the 1994 Contract on America – is how we received the extra dose of “screw the citizens of America” from the lawyers and professional corporate pimps sitting in control of our government. Everyone from the Chamber of Commerce to your friendly neighborhood realtor is trying to prevent oversight of fraudulent practices.