Banking on Failure: Speculators' Use of Credit Default Swaps Dangerous
Nov. 11, 2011
Betting on the misfortune of others has an unsettling quality to it. It just feels wrong. Under our current financial regulatory regime, speculators freely gamble on businesses failing and countries defaulting. In addition to its unseemliness, betting on others’ failure poses a grave risk to our financial system. Read the report.
Just Not Us: Wall Street's "Two Cents" on Pay Rule: Self-Preservation, Not Principle
July 21, 2011
The second installment in our "Two Cents" series examines the financial services industry's efforts to undermine the proposed rule in Section 956 of Dodd-Frank, which covers incentive-based compensation that “encourages inappropriate risks.” We review 24 financial services industry companies, trade associations, and their allies that submitted comments seeking to weaken the proposed rule. The primary theme of industry’s comments: “Please exempt us from this rule.” Read the
Industry Repeats Itself: The Financial Reform Fight
July 12, 2011
With the one year anniversary of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act approaching – and the inevitable industry hand-wringing that will accompany the July 21 occasion – Public Citizen and the Cry Wolf Project decided to take a look back at what industry said during the last major financial reform era: the Great Depression. Read the
Wall Street's "Two Cents": Industry’s Opposition to a Modest Pay Disclosure Rule
April 12, 2011
This is the first report in our Two Cents series, in which we will document the efforts of special interests to influence the rules that will determine the success or failure of Dodd-Frank. Each report will examine the lobbying expenditures, campaign contributions and “revolving door” connections of the most strident opponents of reform. Our inaugural installment looks at pre-rulemaking efforts to weaken the implementation of the financial reform bill’s requirement that companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to reveal how much their CEO makes in comparison to their average employees. Read the
Hourly Rates: A Modest Essay About Extraordinary Paychecks
March 23, 2011
Every fourteen minutes in 2009, hedge fund manager David Tepper made President Obama's annual salary. With 2010 compensation figures forthcoming as companies prepare for annual meetings, here's a baseline
Wall Street Receipts: Pro-TARP, Anti-Reform Legislators Outpace Colleagues in Financial Services Contributions
September 23, 2010
Members of Congress who voted Wall Street’s way on the two most important financial services bills over the past two sessions of Congress—the 2008 TARP bailout and the 2010 financial reform bill—have received more in campaign contributions from the financial sector in the last two election cycles than those who opposed Wall Street on either or both measures, according to Public Citizen’s analysis of voting records and of contribution data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org). Read the report.
Courting the New Dems (PDF)
June 21, 2010
The 43 members of the New Democrat Coalition who last week sent a letter urging House-Senate negotiators to weaken the financial reform bill’s regulation of derivatives have received an average of 44.1 percent more campaign contributions from the financial services sector in the current election cycle than have the 25 coalition members who did not sign the letter, according to Public Citizen’s analysis of data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org). Accounting for all campaigns since the 1998 election cycle, signers have received 44.6 percent more than non-signers, on average. Read the report (PDF).
Conference Klatch: The 43 House and Senate Members Negotiating Final Wall Street Reform Legislation Will Be Lobbied by 56 of Their Former Staffers (PDF)
June 11, 2010
Lobbyists for the financial services industry enjoy longstanding ties to the members of Congress who were named this week to the conference committee on financial reform legislation, according to a joint analysis of available data released today by Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics. Read the report (PDF).
Banking on Connections
June 3, 2010
Organizations in the financial services sector have deployed at least 1,447 former federal employees to lobby Congress and federal agencies since the beginning of 2009, according to a joint analysis of federal disclosure records and other data released today by Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics. Read the report.
Looking for a Free Ride (PDF)
May 24, 2010
So far in the 2010 election cycle, 44 senators have received $380,693 from the auto dealer industry’s employees and political action committees (PACs), according to Public Citizen’s analysis of data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. The ten largest recipients – seven Republicans and three Democrats – have received more than half of the industry’s contributions to the Senate this cycle. Read the report (PDF).
Eleven to One (PDF)
May 18, 2010
Since the beginning of 2009, nearly 1,000 lobbyists have worked on at least one of nine key bills designed to rewrite the rules governing derivatives, a new Public Citizen report shows.These lobbyists have overwhelmingly represented organizations opposing or attempting to water down proposed regulation, according to Public Citizen’s analysis of lobbying disclosure data filed with the U.S. House of Representatives.Lobbyists representing opponents of strong derivatives reform have outnumbered pro-reform lobbyists by more than 11-to-1 (903 to 79 lobbyists). Among the clients represented by the anti-reform lobbyists were the nation’s five largest banks, several major financial trade associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Read the report (PDF).
December 15, 2009
The CEOs of 10 Wall Street firms that either failed or received taxpayer bailouts were paid an average of $28.9 million per year in the years leading up to the Wall Street meltdown, according to a Public Citizen report. Their average pay this decade, calculated through 2007, equaled 575 times the median American family’s 2007 income.“Fat cat compensation has nothing to do with good corporate performance,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said. “These CEOs were exorbitantly compensated for driving their companies off the cliff. At a minimum, Congress must ensure that corporate leaders are paid for long-term performance, not short-term illusions. Read the report.
Investments in the Opponents of Reform
December 8, 2009
Representatives sponsoring two amendments that would weaken critical consumer protections in financial reform legislation have received at least $2.3 million from the financial services sector since the beginning of 2009, according to Public Citizen’s analysis of data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. Read the report.
CA$HING IN: More Than 900 Ex-Government Officials, Including 70 Former Members of Congress, Have Lobbied for the Financial Services Sector in 2009
November 19, 2009
Since the beginning of 2009, organizations in the financial services sector – including banks, investment firms, insurance companies and real estate companies – have commissioned 940 former federal employees as federal lobbyists, Public Citizen’s analysis of data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) shows. Read the report.
Financial Industry Invests Heavily in Key Lawmakers
November 16, 2009
As Congress considers legislation to reregulate the financial services industry in response to the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, the industry is focusing campaign contributions on the congressional leadership and members of the committees crafting reform legislation. Read the report.
August 26, 2009
Lobbyists, political action committees (PACs) and trade associations tied to the banks receiving the most federal bailout money have scheduled 70 fundraisers for members of Congress since Election Day and have made $6 million in federal campaign contributions, according to a Public Citizen report. Read the report.