...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.
While many Americans continue to suffer, Wall Street is raking in the cash:
Goldman Tops Forecast, With $3.46 Billion in Earnings
And, Goldman and the rest of the Wall Street banksters are using that money not to protect consumers and strengthen our economy, but, to protect their profits:
With so much money at stake, it is not surprising that more than 1,500 lobbyists, executives, bankers and others have made their way to the Senate committee that on Wednesday will take up legislation to rein in derivatives, the complex securities at the heart of the financial crisis, the billion-dollar bank bailouts and the fraud case filed last week against Goldman Sachs.
Wall Street isn't looking after us. They're looking after themselves. And, Washington Republicans are happily doing their bidding by pledging to block meaningful reform.
What recession? That's what Hedge Fund managers who are pulling in record profits must be saying considering the big money they're pulling in. While so many Americans are suffering, these guys are profiting off of our misery. Check it out:
For the richest hedge fund managers the global recession proved to be very profitable.
In 2009 the 25-top earning hedge fund managers were paid a collective $25.33 billion, more than double the amount they took home in 2008, according to data provided by the NYT.
Leading the way was David Tepper, who runs Appaloosa Management. Mr. Tepper’s fund gained more than 130% last year, earning him $4 billion in fees and investment gains.
The Hedge Fund managers are eager to protect their profits and the status quo. They are big fans of a broken system that lets them make big profits even as millions suffer. So, they're stepping up their lobbying efforts against reforms that will put consumers first.
With all the political and media focus on healthcare reform over the past few months, the financial industry enjoyed a brief respite from attacks and, as would be expected, spent its time and money wisely.
The hedge fund lobby, called the Managed Funds Association, doubled its spending during the last three months of 2009, according to data recently released by the Federal Election Commission. The MFA strategically sprinkled more than $1 million around Washington in the fourth quarter, compared to just $520,000 spent during the same period in 2008.
All-told, the association spent more than $3.7 million lobbying last year, a big jump from the $2.4 million it spent the year before, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks political spending.
They're spending their money to preserve a status quo that benefits them and leaves us behind. Do you stand with the Hedge Fund managers or do you stand for reform?