Third quarter lobbying disclosure reports tell the story behind financial services lobbying in the lead up to the Panic of ’08 and the ultimate bailout. Jurors now get to decide Sen. Ted Stevens’ fate. That and more in today’s news round-up:
Two competing articles from The Hill and Congressional Quarterly wind up telling the same story. The Hill’s article is titled, “K Street earnings fall.” The CQ article’s opening sentence states, “K Street emerged from the third quarter of 2008 looking substantially better off than Wall Street.” Both are certainly true; I have yet to hear of a lobbying firm being nationalized. The main thrust is that, despite falling lobbying expenses, financial services companies, in particular, can no longer afford to look at lobbying expenses as “discretionary expenses.” While I’m not sure that they ever did – the return on investment in lobbying is usually in the tens of billions for these companies – it is certainly true that lobbying is a lifeline for some companies right now. Lobbying was also a part of what got the financial services and housing industry into this mess, consistently opposing any oversight or regulation that could have prevented the precipitous slide into panic. As lobbying will be so important to these companies in the future, Congress should impose new disclosure requirements on lobbyists, especially those operating for companies receiving bailout bucks. I think something like this would be more than fair.
After a bipolar performance by the Stevens defense and a repetitious pounding from the prosecution during closing statements the jury will finally get to decide whether the Alaska Senator falsely concealed gifts he received when filing his financial disclosure forms. We await their decision. This is how I’m imagining the scene in the jury room right now.
Sunlight’s Nancy Watzman takes a look at Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s fundraising parties over at Party Time, “The deep connections that Dole enjoys thanks to her extensive GOP pedigree–she served in two cabinet posts and of course is married to former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS)–is evident when you dig into the meat of the invitations.”