Eye on the Big Bank Lobby
Over the course of the financial reform process, the six biggest banks and their trade associations have waged an historic assault on democracy, hiring hundreds of revolving door lobbyists and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to push their legislative agenda, according to a report released today by the Campaign for America’s Future.
The report, Big Bank Takeover: How Too-Big-To-Fail’s Army of Lobbyists Has Captured Washington, shows how the six too-big-to-fail banks have hired 243 lobbyists who once worked in the federal government, including 202 who used to work in Congress, with others having worked at the Treasury, the White House, or a relevant federal agency like the SEC. (I authored the report, with assistance from researchers at LittleSis.org).
This translates into an average of 40 revolving door lobbyists per big bank.
Previous studies, including one by Public Citizen, have shown that the finance industry is spending $1 million dollars a day to fight financial reform and employing 940 former federal government employees. “Big Bank Takeover” shows that the six biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo — account for a disproportionate share of this activity.
The revolving door lobbyist number includes 54 former staffers to the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services committee (or a current member of that committee), 33 former chiefs of staff, and 28 former legislative directors. Citigroup leads the big banks with 55 revolving door lobbyists, though the federal government was its largest shareholder for much of this period (2009-2010).