As the financial reform bill makes its way through Congress and the tug of war continues between the proponents and opponents of greater regulation, a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization has released a report that details the Washington lobbying efforts of the financial industry.
According to the report, the Senate Banking committee members received $41 million in contributions since 2005, and representatives of Wall Street banks and investment firms spent $336 million lobbying Congress in the first three quarters of 2009.
Those who received the highest contributions during 2005-2009 included Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut ($9 million), while the top grossing Republican was Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who netted more than $2.5 million.
Among the biggest contributors were the American Bankers Association ($1.26 million), Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, both of which donated more than $400,000.
The report also found that contributors in particular opposed the creation of The Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), preferring the authority to remain with the current regulators who failed to prevent abuses such as predatory mortgage lending that led to the near-economic collapse, according to Consumer Watchdog.
"To ordinary voters, this flood of dollars looks like Wall Street buying votes," said Carmen Balber, Washington director for organization.
"The fate of an independent consumer regulator is a test of whether politicians will rise above financial industry influence to enact meaningful regulatory reform that directly aids ordinary Americans," she concluded.