Capitol News Connection reports on the size of the banking industry lobby and how many lobbyists have made use of the revolving door in Washington to go from the government to lobbying their former employer:
In the military it’s called concentrated firepower. On Capitol Hill, watchdog groups call it the influence of the banking lobby.
From virtually every state they come. In all, 73 former members of Congress now lobby on behalf of banks and other financial services that have much at stake as a House-Senate conference committee on financial regulatory reform conducts its work, according to a joint report from Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics.
Theirs is one of a spate of studies from watchdog groups in recent weeks dealing with “revolving door” lobbyists, those who come from government service and have prized connections and have gone to work for commercial banks, investment banks, credit unions and auto loan, payday loan and mortgage companies.
In all, Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics tallied at least 1,447 former federal employees who have lobbied for the financial services sector since the beginning of 2009.
In addition to the 73 former senators and House members, the total includes 66 former staff members of the House and Senate banking committees and an additional 82 who have worked for one of the current members of those committees.
Further, it said, at least 42 lobbyists working the bill are past employees of the Treasury Department.
If other lobbyists are added to the former government employees, the totals go even higher. In all, nearly 3,000 lobbyists representing an assortment of 850 banks, hedge funds, other financial firms and related associations have been at work on the legislation since President Obama took office, the Center for Public Integrity said.
That’s more than five lobbyists for every member of Congress.