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Monday, May 17, 2010

Goldman Sachs Publicly Supports Financial Reform, But Fights It With Lobbyists

For all of Goldman Sachs' professed support for an overhaul of financial regulations, the megabank hasn't exactly withdrawn its army of lobbyists. Far from wearing out its welcome, the firm is busier than ever safeguarding its interests while a Wall Street crackdown takes shape in Washington.
Goldman has an unrivaled and influential network of lobbyists, including about 50 people with close ties to Congress and past White Houses, a Huffington Post Investigative Fund analysis of lobbying and campaign records shows. The lobbyists are challenging reforms aimed at Goldman's profit centers, including the trading of complex contracts known as derivatives. The Senate this week will continue debating proposed regulations of derivatives, which are blamed for fueling the financial crisis.
Perceptions of Goldman's role in the crisis, along with a civil fraud case brought against the bank last month by the Securities and Exchange Commission, have already spurred predictions of a less dominant future. But all is not lost for Goldman, which still stands out as perhaps the most influential of the nation's top six banks -- a remarkable feat given a crowded field of well-connected institutions.
Goldman's professional persuaders hail from 14 different lobbying firms, Senate lobbying records show. No other top bank -- not JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo or Citigroup -- has as many firms lobbying on its behalf. Goldman has hired nearly 40 lobbyists, all former government employees, to target financial reform alone, Senate disclosure records show.
These services have not come cheaply. Since the beginning of 2009, Goldman has spent nearly $6 million on lobbying, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Only Citigroup and JPMorgan spent more.
So far this year, Goldman has revved up its lobbying even further. In the first three months of 2010, the bank spent $1.53 million lobbying, a 22 percent jump over the same period last year. Goldman also has increased its donations to political campaigns.
"It does show how a corporation will leave no stone unturned -- creating a powerful and potentially influential lobbying force," said Ellen Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that advocates for greater disclosure of how Washington works and is influenced. LinkHere


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