Wall Street lobbying groups spent $719 million in 2017 to fight battles over cutting corporate taxes, rolling back consumer protections and easing regulation of large banks, according to a recently released report by Americans for Financial Reform.
The AFR report notes that the 2017 figure puts Wall Street lobbying on pace to outstrip the record $2 billion it spent during the 2015-2016 campaign cycle.
The biggest spenders within the financial services industry include the American Bankers Association ($13.1 million), Citigroup ($5.9 million), Paloma Partners ($5.6 million), Goldman Sachs ($5.2 million), Renaissance Technologies ($5.6 million), and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association ($8.5 million), according to the 57-page report, “Wall Street Money in Washington.”
Lisa Donner, AFR’s executive director, told ThinkAdvisor that “Wall Street threw its campaign to reverse or undermine the [Labor Department’s] fiduciary rule into a higher gear the moment it saw an opening after the 2016 election. It is not surprising to see one of the industry’s biggest lobbying organizations ranking high on the list of groups that put millions of dollars into the political system.”
The report draws on a special data set compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics for AFR “in order to provide a more precise look at financial services industry spending.”
As the data does not include “dark money” that goes mostly unreported, the actual sums of Wall Street spending are “surely much higher,” according to the report.