The Capitol Is Now A More Inviting Place for Wall Street

Banks' Lobbyists helped write a financial bill.

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Three years ago President Barak Obama signed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It was put in place to change the mindsets of banks and businesses looking for a bailout when they’re in need of financial help. Despite these regulations, three years later Washington’s welcomed Wall Street with open arms.

Last month, a bill essentially written by CitiGroup, passed through the House Financial Services committee despite the objections of the Treasury Department. The New York Times reports the only changes lawmakers made to 70 lines of the 85 line bill put together by bank lobbyists was by making two words plural. This new financial bill amended portions of Dodd-Frank and makes it easier for banks and businesses to receive bailouts.

Wall Street executives also wined and dined political backers of the Dodd-Frank softening bill. One dinner was at a Greek restaurant a few blocks away from the Capitol. During this fundraiser lobbyists paid $2,500 a plate and ate with New York Representative, Sean Patrick Maloney. The Democratic representative was one of the co-sponsors of the bill put together by Citigroup.

Other supporters of the bill are Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Jim Hines, a third term Democrat from Connecticut. Hines has a sort of love-hate relationship with the bill and how it was passed. Hines said to the Times, “It’s appalling, it’s disgusting, it’s wasteful and it opens the possibility of conflicts of interest and corruption. It’s unfortunately the world we live in.”

Jeff Connaughton is a former lobbyist and congressional staff member who opposes Wall Street’s involvement in Washington. In his book, The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins, Connaughton says, “The rest of the country may be divided into red and blue, but D.C. is green and cheerfully so.” Connaughton is quoted as saying to the New York Times, “The huge machinery of Wall Street information and analysis skews the thinking of Congress."

[Source: New York Times, Center for Financial Stability]