Why is taxpayer money being spent on lobbyists for banks?




This is bullshit. Banks should either cease lobbying or pay a brutal penalty if that’s the way they want to spend their money. In no way should taxpayers be funding Wall Street’s efforts to collect more bailout money or get other special breaks. Not that any of them give a damn about individual customers – the days of easy credit and mega deals killed that – but there is no way I would leave my money with any of them.

Bank of America stopped their lobbying efforts in Washington but a few others continue. The pro-lobbying groups are claiming it’s their constitutional right to free speech. Uh huh. It’s the taxpayers constitutional right to take back the money and let these bastards live on the streets without jobs or golden parachutes. They’re only in business because of massive federal support. Someone in Washington is going to have to step up and call these banks out. Unfortunately the team in place has been much too friendly and accomodating with Wall Street, but let’s see if that changes.

Citigroup, recipient of another $45 billion, made the opposite call. While trying to keep a low profile, the company is still fielding an army of Washington lobbyists working on a host of issues, including the bailout. In the fourth quarter, it spent $1.77 million on lobbying fees, according to its lobbyists’ filings.

The different approaches from the two banks that have received the most money underscores the growing dilemma facing private companies, which increasingly deal with the federal government not only as rule-maker but also as shareholder, lender and trading partner.

Pressing federal policy makers risks the appearance of recycling public money to advance a private agenda, while staying on the sidelines could put a company at a comparative disadvantage.

Citigroup and Bank of America are hardly the only two financial firms to confront the issue. During the last three months of 2008, at least seven other firms receiving bailout funds — American Express, Capital One, Goldman Sachs, KeyCorp, Morgan Stanley, PNC and Bank of New York Mellon — all lobbied the government about the bailout, according to a review of their most recent disclosure reports.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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