Regulators have held 14 times as many meetings with financial companies as they have with reform advocates in the three years since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill became law, according to a Sunlight Foundation review of meetings records. Regulators charged with finalizing Dodd-Frank’s rules met with financial firms 2,118 times since June 2010, compared to 153 meetings for reform groups.
Regulators took another 707 meetings with law firms and lobbyists “largely working in service of financial institutions” in that time, Sunlight found.
About a quarter of meetings with reform advocates focused solely on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, diluting their impact on the swarm of other provisions under the law. The report excluded the 22 percent of meetings that did not feature organizations that attended five or more total meetings and did not analyze Securities and Exchange Commission or Federal Deposit Insurance Commission meetings due to the size of the dataset.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and Citigroup top the list of meeting participants. Rules on risky, complex financial products known as derivatives were the most common area of focus for the financial firms in Sunlight’s analysis. Those rules are written by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where reform groups had a voice at just 4.4 percent of total meetings.
Dodd-Frank’s authors delegated large amounts of authority to regulators to hammer out the details of the law’s function. The outsized influence of industry groups over those details has tangibly weakened various provisions of the law, including both the scope and strength of derivatives enforcement, and the “Volcker rule” meant to curb risk-taking at banks. Derivatives and out-of-control risktaking by many of the companies now dominating regulatory meetings were at the heart of the financial crisis that prompted the Dodd-Frank bill meant to curb the industry’s practices.