Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wall Street Steps Up Political Donations, Lobbying

As a followup to yesterday's "Frontline's "The Warning": Now Taking Prop Bets on When Obama Fires Larry Summers' Ass". This is not just regulatory capture, it is government capture.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Some of the biggest Wall Street firms are back in the political-spending game after hunkering down while they were getting government bailout funds.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Morgan Stanley and other large financial-services firms stepped up their political donations in September to members of Congress, for many the first time this year they have joined the fray.

Most Wall Street firms stopped making donations to lawmakers when they were receiving government funds, and many lawmakers stopped accepting them. But now that the companies have begun returning the bailout funds, they are making campaign donations again. At the same time, they are increasing their spending on lobbying after a yearlong slump.

To be sure, the donations from Wall Street are far below levels of the comparable period four years ago -- the first year of President George W. Bush's second term -- when companies' finances and the overall economy were much healthier.

The renewed assault on Washington comes as the Capitol Hill debate begins on a broad overhaul of financial-services regulations that is strongly backed by President Barack Obama and opposed by large swaths of the finance industry. The spending could also heighten tensions with Mr. Obama, who as recently as Tuesday called on Wall Street to stop lobbying against the proposed regulations....MORE

HT: naked capitalism