Himes again tries to slip in taxpayer insurance for derivative trades by his former employers on Wall Street. It probably passed; we’ll know in the next few weeks, after a few stalwart souls wade through the continuing resolution funding bill and dissenter all the spoils put in by our elected crooks, but at least we won’t have to worry that Himes spent any time working on this lagniappe for his friends and future employers: according to the NYT, they write the bills, he just submits them.
Bank lobbyists are not leaving it to lawmakers to draft legislation that softens financial regulations. Instead, the lobbyists are helping to write it themselves.
One bill that sailed through the House Financial Services Committee this month — over the objections of the Treasury Department — was essentially Citigroup’s, according to e-mails reviewed by The New York Times. The bill would exempt broad swathes of trades from new regulation.
In a sign of Wall Street’s resurgent influence in Washington, Citigroup’s recommendations were reflected in more than 70 lines of the House committee’s 85-line bill. Two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word. (Lawmakers changed two words to make them plural.)
[T] hree years after Congress passed the most comprehensive overhaul of regulation since the Depression, Wall Street is finding Washington a friendlier place.
The cordial relations now include a growing number of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, whose support the banks need if they want to roll back parts of the 2010 financial overhaul, known as Dodd-Frank.
This legislative push is a second front, with Wall Street’s other battle being waged against regulators who are drafting detailed rules allowing them to enforce the law.
And as its lobbying campaign steps up, the financial industry has doubled its already considerable giving to political causes. The lawmakers who this month supported the bills championed by Wall Street received twice as much in contributions from financial institutions compared with those who opposed them, according to an analysis of campaign finance records performed by MapLight, a nonprofit group.
The close ties hardly surprise Wall Street critics, who have long warned that the banks — whose small armies of lobbyists include dozens of former Capitol Hill aides — possess outsize influence in Washington.
“The huge machinery of Wall Street information and analysis skews the thinking of Congress,” said Jeff Connaughton, who has been both a lobbyist and Congressional staff member.
Lawmakers who supported the industry-backed bills said they did so because the effort was in the public interest. Yet some agreed that the relationship with corporate groups was at times uncomfortable.
“I won’t dispute for one second the problems of a system that demands immense amount of fund-raisers by its legislators,” said Representative Jim Himes, a third-term Democrat of Connecticut, who supported the recent industry-backed bills and leads the party’s fund-raising effort in the House. A member of the Financial Services Committee and a former banker at Goldman Sachs, he is one of the top recipients of Wall Street donations. “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.”
And one that he’s delighted to wallow in, obviously.
Chris Shays, the Republican congressman replaced by Himes, was the only congressman I’m aware of who came back from Washington, two decades after he was sent there, with the same a net worth he began with: $100,000. Himes won’t make that mistake; the question is, where is Dollar Bill on this?