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Wall Street Spent $2.9B on Political Campaigns, Lobbying in 2019-20

Wall Street Spent $2.9B on Political Campaigns, Lobbying in 2019-20
People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and a statue of George Washington at Wall Street on March 23, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 16 April 2021 11:33 AM

Wall Street financial firms and trade groups spent a combined $2.9 billion on lobbying, and donations to political campaigns and action groups in the 2019-20 election cycle, Yahoo! News reports.

Americans for Financial Reform released a new report Friday detailing the level of lobbying and donating done by major Wall Street companies. The financial sector spent a total of almost $933 million on lobbying, and about $1.96 billion to federal candidates for office in the last two years. Members of Congress running for reelection took in about $310 million in total from Wall Street financial firms.

"In the last election cycle, the financial services industry boosted spending on politics to its highest level ever, a full 50 percent above the previous record of $2 billion in the presidential cycle of 2015-16," the report reads. "The extraordinary amount of cash reflects the industry’s enduring effort to influence policy no matter which party controls Congress and the executive branch. It also reflects, for those Democrats who sought their party’s presidential nomination, an expensive primary process.”

They found that the most, $158.9 million, was spent by Bloomberg LP, founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination during that time. Other major spenders included the National Association of Realtors at $154.3 million, Fahr LLC at $70.7 million, Citadel LLC at $69.3 million, and Blackstone group at $49.5 million. 

The report added, "Wall Street poured money into campaign coffers of both presidential candidates, and seems to have made a particular effort to preserve Republican control of the Senate to both lock in pro-industry measures passed during the Trump administration, and to forestall reform under President [Joe] Biden. Notably, the contributions from the financial sector to organizations making independent expenditures exploded in the 2019-20 cycle, to more than double the level reported in the last presidential cycle."

Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., received the most money ($6.5 million) of any current member of Congress, during his heavily-watched election, followed by Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., with $6.3 million, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at $6.2 million. Two Republican candidates for Senate in Georgia, former Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, each raised more than $9 million despite going on to lose their races.

AFR noted that "in a number of cases these elected officials were running against each other. For example, in the hard-fought Georgia Senate races, which included both a scheduled November election and two separate runoffs in January, Senators Loeffler and Perdue, both Republicans, received significantly more money from the financial sector than their challengers who are now Democratic Senators Warnock and Ossoff, respectively. By contrast, [Arizona] Senator [Martha] McSally, a Republican, received slightly less from the financial sector than the eventual victor in that race, now-Senator Kelly, a Democrat."

The report relied on data from the Center from Responsive Politics, which monitors campaign contributions and lobbying spending based on disclosures to the Federal Elections Commission and the Senate Office of Public Records.

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Wall Street financial firms and trade groups spent a combined $2.9 billion on lobbying and donations to political campaigns and political action groups in the 2019-2020 election cycle...
wall street, lobbying, campaigns, pac
Friday, 16 April 2021 11:33 AM
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