Financial Sector Spent $5 Billion on Political Influence


In the 10 years leading up to current economic crisis, the financial sector spent $5 billion on political influence, according to a report by the Essential Information and the Consumer Education Foundation. From 1998 to 2008, investment firms, commercial banks, hedge funds, real estate companies, and insurance companies spent $1.725 billion on political contributions and $3.4 billion on lobbyists.

The report highlights 12 policy efforts that were the focus of the heavy influence spending. For the most part, the policy efforts involved doing what Robert Kaiser says lobbyists do best, stopping action. This came in the form of blocking reform bills and blocking regulation. Sometimes these actions came in the form of passing legislation that the financial sector supported.

In the wake of the financial collapse, we need to fully reassess, not only the financial sector, but also the political sector. First and foremost, the lobbying disclosure laws need to be given real teeth by requiring real-time disclosure of lobbying contacts (within 24 hours of each meeting), along with the nature and substance of each contact. Without real lobbying disclosure we will only allow the hidden manipulation of our political system to occur again.

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  • rxgary

    the real crisis isnt that there isnt money to lend. the crisis is the bankrupt america act of october 2005. small biz cant afford bankruptcy under the new laws, and now close to a hundred million former credit worthy customers no longer qualify for credit. thats the crisis, and with the new laws the deadbeats cant get credit for 20 years

    face facts the system is beyond repair, as the military would say, FUBAR.

    the only way to fix things now is rico laws used against the criminal enterprise thats been running the country the last 3 decades

  • usr102

    No doubt that the financial industry feathered their nest with their contributions. However, why not have the guts to include the amount that union lobbyists(especially teachers)gave to Congress.