Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lobbyist Roadblocks on the Financial-Overhaul Bill

What are the reasons why bending the ear of lawmakers suddenly has become a bigger challenge for financial-services industry lobbyists?
Some lawmakers want to avoid the slightest appearance that Wall Street is getting another chance to throw its weight and money around on key provisions of the bill, including toughened oversight and other bank/securities cash cows.

Although Democrats are hoping to have the financial-overhaul bill signed into law by July 4: Barney Frank is still holding meetings by phone.

Some banks have been told that their views are known enough already, given the long debate over how many legislative changes are needed in response to the financial crisis. Not surprisingly, banks and securities firms still are pressing their case. Bank of America CEO Moynihan recently met with White House and J.P. Morgan Chairman Dimon has made a series of phone calls to lawmakers to argue that several provisions of the bill could damage the banking system and overall economy.

"The closer you get to the end of the process, the more intense everyone's efforts get," says William Sweet, a partner at law firm Skadden, Arps. "A lot of people are losing sleep."

In the first quarter, the latest period for which figures are available, the securities and investment industry spent $28 million on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Some of that spending likely is funding part of the current lobbying push. If the first quarter's pace continues through the rest of 2010, the industry's total lobbying would surpass by 18% the all-time high set in 2008. (Pictured chart courtesy of WSJ on Page C1 6/15/10)

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