04 August 2010

Hey Rube, Here's Why Your Lawmakers Ignored All Those Calls and Faxes

"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."

Money Talks. And money in the hands of the man who is sitting in the offices and standing in the halls of Congress is an effective tool for buying the influence and the laws that you want.

Political campaign financing reform, including stricter limitation of direct contributions by special interests to targeted lawmakers, is at the heart of it.

Does the First Amendment cover soft bribery? That is how they will spin it.

Goldman Sachs has the right to express its opinion to your congressman, while wrapping it in a thick rolls of hundred dollar bills, charged to expenses, and paid for by you.

And while it is a nice cushion, $251 million is small potatoes compared to the real payoff in jobs and speaking engagements with huge stipends, consulting fees, and sinecures after leaving office. And that is on top of their fat pensions and cadillac benefits.

Corporatism is the parternship of big business and government. And in the organizational state, the individual (that's you Mr. Potato Head) is irrelevant. Except for comic relief, someone to be played for the fool, the emotional plaything of paid pundits and party politics. Someone whom they can whip into a frenzy, who really enjoys the show.

Yeah boy, we'll show those new crooks a thing or two, and vote the old crooks back in November. Especially the ones that make no bones about being in it for the money and the power, and appeal to the worst in us with stereotypes and caricatures. That will teach Washington something about us.

You bet it will.

Wall Street's lobbying pricetag: $251 million

By Jennifer Liberto
August 2, 2010: 2:08 PM ET

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- 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."

In the first half of 2010, Goldman Sachs 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...

There was plenty of evidence of financial sector lobbying throughout in the period leading up to final passage of the Wall Street reform bill last month.

In June, during the final 20-hour meeting of the panel to reconcile differences between the House and Senate reform bills, lobbyists suddenly packed a congressional office meeting room a bit after midnight, as lawmakers started tackling the final details of making derivatives more transparent. In hallways, they cornered House members who serve on the Agriculture Committee, in particular.

In late May, JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon made calls to a couple of lawmakers who were expected to be named to the conference panel.JP Morgan Chase spent $3 million on lobbying in the first half of the year, about the same as in 2009, according to the Center.

While the financial sector was active, other industries also dug deep into their wallets to talk to lawmakers. Despite the fact that the health care bill passed in March, the Center said health firms spent nearly as much as Wall Street firms did in the second quarter, $125 million. So far this year, the health care industry has spent $267 million on lobbying.

Overall, all lobbying totaled $1.78 billion in the first half of the year, up 7.5% in from the same six months in 2009. If it continues at that pace, 2010 will be a record year for lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

However, fewer lobbyists are pounding the pavement, as the number of lobbyists dropped 5% compared to the same period in 2009.