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Bill Radke: Continuing on the theme of rescued companies, Wall Street firms are already unpopular for paying giant in bonuses this year after getting that taxpayer lifeline. Well, those same firms are also spending heavily to lobby Congress against financial reforms. And Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman tells us those efforts are the subject of a protest today by union activists and their allies.
Mitchell Hartman: Five thousand people rallied against bailouts and foreclosures and lax financial regulation at the American Bankers convention in Chicago last month. It’ll be much the same today at Goldman Sachs in Washington.
Stephen Lerner of the Service Employees International Union says taxpayers saved Wall Street, now Wall Street’s trying to protect its profits.
Stephen Lerner: We bailed ’em out and now they’re using that money to oppose the changes in the law that would protect us from a future economic calamity.
Labor and taxpayer groups want tough reforms from Congress — a new consumer protection agency, limits on bank size, more oversight of risky investments.
Financial companies are trying to slow the rush to regulation. But, says Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics:
Sheila Krumholz: They know reform is coming, like it or not.
So industry lobbyists are trying to water it down:
Krumholz: To do as little damage as possible to their bottom lines.
And they do have plenty of weight to throw around. According to a report out today from Public Citizen, financial companies gave $42 million to political candidates over the past year. Top recipients were lawmakers crafting new regulations for the industry.
I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.