According to today’s newscast from DemocracyNow.org, the number of financial sector lobbyists has grown greatly over the past year. Amy Goodman reports,
A new study says Wall Street lobbying firms continue to draw large numbers from former lawmakers and government officials. The groups Public Citizen and The Center for Responsive Politics say over 1400 former members of Congress, Capitol Hill staffers, and federal employees have registered as financial sector lobbyists since 2009. The number includes at least 73 former lawmakers and 148 ex-staffers connected to the House or Senate banking committees. More than 40 lobbyists formerly worked for the Treasury department.
The full report is available here. The list of former lawmakers includes two former Senate majority leaders, two former House majority leaders, and a former speaker of the house. There are former staffers of Congresspersons on financial committees past and present. One of my own Senators, Herb Kohl (D-WI), who sits on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, has no fewer than five former staffers who have registered as financial sector lobbyists in the past year.
As for who’s hiring these lobbyists, the usual suspects top the list. Citigroup, Inc. takes the number one position with using 60 “revolving door” lobbyists in 2009-2010. Prudential and Goldman Sachs have 47 each and JP Morgan Chase has 33.
Other than the former lawmakers, the names of the lobbyists are not household names. The lobbyist most in demand is Michael B Levy, former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, who the report says now has 25 financial sector clients. And Levy is by no means alone in this number. Including him, there are 52 lobbyists who have at least 13 financial sector clients, all of whom have similarly frightening resumes.
These lobbyists are returning to their friends and former bosses in office, offering the same advice they offered the last time around. Is there any hope for meaningful financial reform?