...that's how much Wall Street spent trying to defeat and water down real reform.
The financial industry has spent $251 million on lobbying so far this year as lawmakers hammered out new rules of the road for Wall Street, according to the latest lobbying reports compiled by a watchdog group.
The financial sector spent more than any other special interest group from April through the end of June -- a whopping $126 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' latest estimates. Wall Street banks, as well as insurance and real estate firms, hiked the amount they spent on lobbying by 12% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year.
"Financial reform certainly drove Wall Street lobbying efforts," said Dave Levinthal, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. "Even as the economy remains beaten and bruised, with some financial institutions continuing to struggle, most banks and securities houses found it in their budgets to hire lobbyists - and lots of them."
The usual suspects spent the most:
In the first half of 2010, Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) spent $2.7 million, just $100,000 shy of the total the firm spent on lobbying in all of 2009. The firm's reports to the federal government said it lobbied Treasury, White House and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as Congress.
Other banks also flexed their muscle on Capitol Hill this year. Citigroup Inc. (C, Fortune 500) spent $3 million and Bank of America Corp. (BAC, Fortune 500) spent $2.1 million on lobbying during the first half of this year, the Center for Responsive Politics reports.
Banking and financial lobbying groups are among the heavy hitters so far in 2010. The American Bankers Association (ABA) has spent $4.5 million and the Financial Services Roundtable has spent $4.2 million on lobbying so far this year, while the Securities Industry & Financial Market Association (SIFMA) has spent $2.8 million.
They tried their hardest, but, in the end, the power of people defeated Wall Street's millions.
The lobbyists are panicking. They're working harder than ever, behind the scenes to water down reform and create loopholes that the Wall Street banksters plan to exploit.
Lobbyists are shifting into overdrive today as Congress formally begins its attempt to smooth out differences between the House and Senate versions of the Wall Street bill.
Financial services trade associations, big banks and a slew of other companies that provide financial products are blanketing Capitol Hill trying to get a last word in.
Although this will be the first public conference in a long time, the real negotiations aren’t expected to happen in front of the cameras. And the real lobbying will begin once behind-the-scenes negotiations between Senate and House conferees start in earnest...
Lobbyists declined to name specific Members who refused to meet with K Streeters on financial regulatory reform but said they were focused on getting meetings at the staff level and with lawmakers who have the ear of the conferees as well as House and Senate leadership...
The lobbyists are playing their usual inside game. This game is part of the problem in Washington. Now is the time that will test the resolve of our legislators. Will they remain firm or will they bow to the immense pressure of the banksters? Time will tell - but, you can have your voice heard by calling your members of Congress and calling on them to stand firm and don't retreat.
House Republican Leader John Boehner and his party are carrying water for the Wall Street banksters, and, the Washington lobbyists couldn't be happier. Roll Call reports:
K Street is starting to see red.
With House Republicans poised to make major gains in November and Minority Leader John Boehner working to become the next Speaker, lobbyists are not-so-quietly cozying up to the Ohio Republican...
“I think his presence for some people carries more gravitas than it used to,” said Altria’s top lobbyist, Bruce Gates, who is close to Boehner. “The guy you hung out with at the club, golf course or legislative coalition meeting, suddenly you look at him a little differently...”
A regular on the cocktail and fundraising circuit, Boehner has long been friendly with a number of corporate and contract lobbyists — a network that he is increasingly relying on now as he eyes the Speakership. Altria’s Gates, along with his wife, Joyce Gates, who once served as Boehner’s chief of staff, and Quinn Gillespie’s Lampkin are considered key members of Boehner’s inner circle, as are Gary Andres of Dutko Worldwide, Terry Holt, a former Boehner aide who is now with the Republican lobbying firm HDMK, and John Fish, an in-house lobbyist with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
Ohio native Steve Clark of Clark, Lytle & Geduldig, his partner Sam Geduldig, who was Boehner’s political director, and Glover Park Group’s Brian Gaston, another one-time Boehner staffer, are also tight with the top House Republican.
“I think that he has an excellent relationship with a lot of people on K Street,” Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) said. “He raises a lot of money through the Freedom Project, and of course, he transfers a lot of money to the team, to the [National Republican Congressional Committee] and to Members.”
Boehner buddies around with K Street Lobbyists. And, they make handsome contributions to his campaigns. Follow the money and the friendships. It's clear who John Boehner is working for.
Wall Street banksters and K Street lobbyists are teaming up to stop real financial regulatory reform that puts Main Street interests over Wall Street profits. Wall Street expenditures on K Street are up 12% from 2008 to $29.8 million last year. The LA Times has the story:
Reporting from New York - Even as the financial industry has sought to keep a low public profile, some of the country's largest banks have ramped up their spending on lobbying to fight off some of the stiffest regulatory proposals pending in Congress.
Lobbying expenditures jumped 12% from 2008 to $29.8 million last year among the eight banks and private equity firms that spent the most to influence legislation, according to data compiled from disclosure forms filed with Congress.
The biggest spender was JPMorgan Chase & Co., whose lobbying budget rose 12% to $6.2 million, enough for the firm to have more than 30 lobbyists working for it. Among other banks, spending on lobbying rose 27% at Wells Fargo & Co. and 16% at Morgan Stanley.
"I have never seen such a scrum of bank lobbyists as I have in the last year -- and I've worked on quite a few bank issues over the years," said Ed Mierzwinski, a lobbyist for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a coalition of state consumer organizations. "It seems like everybody is out of work except for bank lobbyists."
Wall Street banksters are spending tens of millions on K Street lobbyists to protect their profits and the status quo. Do you stand with Wall Street banksters and K Street lobbyists? Will you stand up for real reform?