Due Diligence

Wall Street Drops $251mln on Lobbying in 2010

Do you think banks, brokerages and insurance firms got what they paid for? They sure lay down a whole lot of benjamins to influence the shape of Wall Street reform legislation in the first half of this year. The securities and investment industry spent more than $27.6 million on lobbying between April and June -- an increase of about 26 percent compared to the second quarter of 2009, says the lastest report from the Center for Responsive Politics. Commercial banking interests spent $15.5 million -- an increase of about 20 percent. Citigroup spent $3 million and Bank of America spent $2.1 million. I have not yet seen a tally of what consumer and investment adviser or pro-fiduciary groups spent, but it is surely a fraction of this. Did the Wall Street lobbying effort pay off? Most people have complained that the final law does not do what it was intended to, so perhaps the lobbying worked. I'd love to see a calculation of how much the final law will cost financial services companies in terms of revenues versus original legislation.

Meanwhile, lobbyists now outnumber members of Congress by about 20 to 1, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. More than 11,100 corporations, trade associations, unions and other groups hired 10,500 lobbyists during the second quarter.

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