Back in October, potential House Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) chided the financial services industry for donating to Democrats, since the Democratic Congress had passed the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill. “It is hard to believe, he told the crowd, that some in their industry were still giving more to Democrats than Republicans after, he said, Democrats hammered them with over-reaching Wall Street reform legislation,” Politico reported.
The banks responded to the regulatory reform effort by giving heavily to Republicans. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “Republican candidates received 34 million dollars in donations from the finance, insurance and real estate sector since January compared to 23 million dollars given to Democrats.” And now the banking industry is expecting to get what it paid for:
“We had been disappointed with a number of legislative outcomes with the past Congress, and so we look forward to better outcomes with this Congress,” said Peter Garuccio, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association in Washington. Garuccio said banks expect a corrections bill to peel back some of the financial regulations passed into law this year.
The American Bankers Association — which is the banking industry’s largest trade group — lobbied heavily on the Dodd-Frank law, claiming that consumers were happy with the predatory practices and exorbitant fees that banks charged for services.
House Republicans have their eye on numerous changes to the Dodd-Frank law, including weakening the Volcker Rule (which prevents banks from engaging in risky trading with taxpayer dollars) and subjecting the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to the annual appropriations process. Bachus himself has also suggested watering down the law’s provisions reforming the derivatives market.
Of course, working with hordes of lobbyists from the financial services industry is nothing new for House Republicans. Last December, incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) huddled with more than 100 bank lobbyists to brainstorm ways of defeating financial reform entirely.
Boehner also urged the American Bankers Association — the same organization that is now crafting its wish-list for the GOP-led House — to fight regulatory reform tooth and nail. “Don’t let those little punk [Congressional] staffers take advantage of you and stand up for yourselves,” Boehner told the ABA.
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.