According to a March 18th report from the nonprofit watchdog group Americans for Financial Reform, the financial sector is the biggest single source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and political parties, as well as the second biggest spender on lobbying overall. According to federal records, in the 2013-14 election cycle, Wall Street banks and the financial industry spent over $1.4 billion to influence politicians in Washington to support their interests.
More on recent financial sector lobbying spending and campaign contributions
The AFR report notes that the two-year total of $1.4 billion works out to more than $1.9 million a day spent to push their point of view in DC. That is an average of $2.6 million spent to elect or influence each of the 535 members of the Senate and House of Representatives, or $3,600 per day for each member of Congress. Of note, over 340 financial industry firms and trade associations spent $500,000 or more during the 24 months.
Individuals and groups in the financial sector made $497,032,612 in contributions to federal candidates during the 2013-14 election cycle. In fact, the financial sector’s contributions were more than twice that of any other sector, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The data shows that $326,894,582 contributed by PACs and individuals associated with finance (and party-coded), 63% went to Republican candidates and 37% went to Democratic candidates.
The financial sector spent $908,019,488 on lobbying efforts in 2013 and 2014. That was good for second place, but behind “Miscellaneous Business” companies and trade associations, which spent $1,034,893,497. This miscellaneous business category includes groups like the US Chamber of Commerce that lobby on financial as well as other issues.
Financial sector lobbying spending in 2014 election cycle higher than in 2010 cycle
The financial industry pumped up its spending this cycle compared to the 2010 election cycle, when the industry was working to stop or weaken the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The AFR report notes that the ongoing high level of spending “reflects 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.”
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