How Wall Street Tried, And Failed, To Elect Lawmakers Hostile To Financial Reform

Wall Street, after giving more to President Obama during the 2008 election than to his opponent Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), flipped during the 2012 election to give the vast majority of its campaign donations to Mitt Romney. As Matt Phillips outlined at Quartz, “individuals affiliated with the banking and finance industries overwhelmingly channeled money towards the Romney campaign,” and now have precious little to show for it:

Folks in the financial industry were decisive in placing their chips on the Republican challenger during this year’s presidential race. And, just to be clear, they lost. […]

From the hedge fund and private equity industries, more than 82% of the donations went to Romney, $5.7 million. From commercial banks, roughly $4.2 million, or 75% of donations, went to the Republican candidate. By comparison, in 2008 hedge funds and private equity sent nearly 60% of their donations to Obama. And just shy of 58% of donations from individuals tied to commercial banks went to the then-Democratic candidate in 2008.

This shift makes sense, considering Romney’s desire to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform law signed by Obama in 2010.

Instead, Wall Street not only has Obama in the White House, but Elizabeth Warren, one of the staunchest bank critics, is headed to the Senate after Wall Street backed her opponent, Scott Brown. The financial industry also favored unsuccessful Senate bids by Dodd-Frank opponents Josh Mandel (OH), Tommy Thompson (WI), Richard Mourdock (IN), and Rick Berg (ND).

Now, Dodd-Frank, assuming that House Republicans don’t entirely cut off funding to financial regulators, will continue to move ahead. Large parts of the law have not yet been implemented, including important reforms to derivatives and the Volcker Rule, which is aimed at reining in risky bank trading.

According to Businessweek, Wall Street is turning its attention next to the so-called “fiscal cliff,” and to lobbying for Erskine Bowles, who helped craft the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan, to be the next Treasury Secretary.