Wall Street spending $1.5M a day on lobbying, campaigns

The financial sector has shelled out more than $800 million to influence Washington via lobbying and campaign spending in the current election cycle, according to a new report from Americans for Financial Reform.

That works out to roughly $1.5 million a day, a total on pace to eclipse Wall Street’s effort four years ago to beat back the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the left-leaning policy group said.

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Dodd-Frank was ultimately enacted in July 2010, and the landmark statute turned four this week. But nearly half of hundreds of regulations required by the law remain incomplete, and battles persist over their final language.

“The industry’s continued high level of spending reflects the ongoing battle to reshape the financial system, and the industry’s persistent efforts to repeal or win exemptions from parts of the law, to weaken implementing regulations, and to forestall further proposals for change,” the group concluded in its 40-page report.

The study, based on data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, shows that roughly 62 percent of the political spending went to Republicans; 38 percent went to Democrats.

The top recipients in the Senate feature members of both parties. Rounding out the top four were Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), according to the study.

Both Booker and Markey ran in special elections during the cycle, while McConnell and Cornyn are up for reelection this fall.

In the House, the top four recipients were Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who was defeated this spring in a surprise primary upset.

Top industry spenders on both lobbying and campaigns included the National Association of Realtors, the American Bankers Association and Prudential Financial, the report found.