In the current election cycle, Wall Street banks and financial interests have so far reported spending more than $1.2 billion to influence decision-making in Washington, according to a new report released by Americans for Financial Reform.
That total – of officially reported expenditures on campaign contributions and lobbying from January 1, 2013, through November 16, 2014:
- Works out to just under $1.8 million a day.
- Represents an average of about $2.3 million spent to elect or influence each of the 535 members of the Senate and House of Representatives.
- More than 300 financial sector companies and trade associations spent at least $500,000 each in this period.
The financial industry is on track to exceed its rate of spending in the 2010 election cycle, when the industry was working to stop or weaken the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as it made its way through Congress. This 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.
“Wall Street Money in Washington,” a 47-page examination of various forms of political spending, draws on data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), including data produced specifically for AFR in order to provide a more precise look at financial industry spending than has been possible in the past. The special data is based on the standard FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) category but removes amounts otherwise included in this category spent by health insurers.
Highlights of the report include:
Campaign Contributions. Individuals and entities associated with the financial sector reported making $433,515,888 in contributions to federal candidates for office during the 2013-14 election cycle through November 16, 2014. The financial sector’s contributions were more than twice that of any other specific business sector identified in the Center for Responsive Politics data. Of the $298,078,276 contributed by PACs and individuals associated with finance, 62% went to Republicans and 38% went to Democrats.
Lobbying. The financial industry reported spending $791,610,195 on lobbying in 2013 and 2014 through September 30, 2014. This puts the sector in second place, very close behind a category of “Miscellaneous Business” companies and trade associations, which spent $894,862,259; the miscellaneous business category includes such groups as the US Chamber of Commerce ($202,294,068 total expenditures through November 16, 2014) which also lobby on financial issues.
In calendar year 2013, there were 2,270 registered lobbyists working for the FIRE sector and so far in 2014, there are 2,091.
To read more, visit Americans for Financial Reform.