Do you sometimes feel like the deck is stacked against you? That nothing is fair, including (especially) our laws, our court system, our entire system of government? Do you feel like no matter what the rules or the laws say, they can just be bent, twisted or ignored by the banks whenever they care to?
Those aren’t really questions anymore, they’re bold statements of fact.
I certainly experience this every single day. Especially when I dare to kick the lion that is our nation’s banking and financial services industry, which are synonymous with “our” government.
(It of course is their government)
But don’t just listen to me and all my rantings, have a look at this fancy report produced by OurFuture.org…..
Findings from the report:
“¢ 243 lobbyists for six big banks and their trade associations used to work in the federal
government ““ 202 in Congress, the rest in the White House, Treasury, or at a relevant federal
government agency. That’s equivalent to 40 revolving-door lobbyists per bank.
“¢ This includes 33 chiefs of staff, 54 staffers to the House Financial Services Committee
and Senate Banking Committee (or a current member of that committee) and 28 legislative
directors. Many of the revolving door lobbyists were key architects of financial deregulatory
legislation during their time as congressional staffers, including the Financial Services
Modernization (Gramm-Leach-Bliley) Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization
“¢ The six big banks and their trade associations have spent close to $600 million since the first
major federal bailout of Bear Stearns in March 2008 on lobbying, trade association activity
and political contributions.
“¢ Citigroup employs 55 revolving-door lobbyists, more than any other big bank or financial
industry trade association. The federal government was until recently Citigroup’s largest
shareholder. Other banks are also employing huge lobbying armies: Goldman Sachs with 45,
JPMorgan Chase with 32, Morgan Stanley with 19, Wells Fargo with 14, and Bank of America
with 12. The top big-bank lobbies, the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association
and the American Bankers Association, have hired 84 revolving-door lobbyists.
“¢ The top big-bank lobbying firm in Washington is Elmendorf Strategies, founded by Steve
Elmendorf, former chief of staff to Rep. Dick Gephardt. Elmendorf’s financial team includes
former top staffers to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes,
and Gephardt. The firm represents the most powerful Wall Street banks and associations,
including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, the Financial Services Forum, and the Securities
Industry and Financial Markets Association. Other top lobbying firms include the Podesta
Group and Porterfield, Lowenthal, & Fettig.
“¢ Senate Banking Committee chair Christopher Dodd (D-CT) leads all current members of
Congress, with five former staffers now working as big bank lobbyists. Banking Committee
ranking member Richard Shelby (R-AL) and members Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Tim
Johnson (D-SD) each have four.
“¢ Big banks are hiding lobbying activities in a burgeoning shadow industry of generic
business associations, ad hoc coalitions and front companies. Government bailouts and
partial federal ownership have made it difficult for big banks to ramp up direct lobbying;
instead, they are routing their dollars through this shadow lobby.
“¢ Sullivan & Cromwell, the firm defending Goldman Sachs in its Securities and Exchange
Commission fraud suit, secured the most lucrative big bank lobbying contract in 2009, a
$520,000 deal with Clearing House Payments Co. ““ a company owned by JPMorgan Chase,
Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Bank of America, and several other banks. The firm also lobbied on
behalf of Goldman Sachs during the same period. In a past financial reform fight, lawyers at
Sullivan & Cromwell lobbied on behalf of Enron, and appear to have helped craft the ” Enron