Banks spent record amounts on lobbying in recent election

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By Pete Schroeder

<span class="articleLocation”>Banks and other financial companies expecting
big benefits from Republican-led deregulation spent record
amounts on lobbying in the last election cycle, according to an
advocacy group report released on Wednesday.

The financial sector spent $2 billion on political activity
from the beginning of 2015 to the end of 2016, including $1.2
billion in campaign contributions – more than twice the amount
given by any other business sector, according to the study from
Americans for Financial Reform.

That works out to $3.7 million per member of Congress and is
the most ever tracked by the group, which analyzed spending data
going back to 1990.

Furthermore, the actual amount is probably higher, because
it did not include so-called “dark money”: funds donated to
political advocacy by nonprofit groups.

Wells Fargo & Co, Citigroup Inc, Prudential
Financial Inc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc all
spent more than $10 million each, the report said.

On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs released an investment analysis
saying that large money center banks stood to profit
significantly from the kind of financial deregulation expected
from Republican President Donald Trump’s administration and a
Republican Congress.

As much as $218 billion in excess capital could be returned
to shareholders or reinvested in the banks themselves if all the
deregulation the industry is seeking comes about.

Among senators not running for president, Democrat Charles
Schumer, now the minority leader, received the largest amount,
with $5.3 million coming from financial firms. Mike Crapo, the
Republican chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and who was
also in the top 10 from the Senate, received $2.1 million.

Jeb Hensarling, the Republican chairman of the House
Financial Services Committee who favors financial deregulation,
received $1.9 million.

The report did not detail donations to presidential
campaigns.

Though Trump has called for significant bank deregulation
from both the agencies and via a congressional rewrite of the
2010 Dodd-Frank financial deregulation law, there will be
pushback from Democrats and others. Goldman conceded in its
review that it was unlikely that all Dodd-Frank era regulation
would be undone.



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