More Wall Street influence in Washington?

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After Wall Street spent $293 million on campaign contributions in the 2010 cycle and hired nearly 2,500 lobbyists last year to rack up $471 million in lobbying, you’d think Wall Street would have its bases covered in the DC influence game.*


The Washington Post reports this morning that the American Securitization Forum (ASF), a trade association “representing the industry that packages loans into securities,” will open a Washington, D.C. office as the fight over financial regulations continues.

Because this is Washington, and the hinges on the revolving door in this city are made of adamantium, the new office will be led by Jim Johnson, “a vet­eran of the Senate banking committee staff…who worked for Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the committee’s ranking Republican.”

Sen. Shelby has close ties to Wall Street donors, having taken in $6 million in campaign cash from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector (FIRE) during his time in Congress. Big donors include JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs.

Aside from the ties to the Ranking Member of the Senate Banking committee, the ASF membership list (availably only in PDF), includes a who’s who of Wall Street banks and firms—many of which have also made big investments in members of Congress over the years.

In fact, 11 of the top 16 giving companies in the FIRE sector in the 2010 election cycle (or one of their subsidiaries), are members of ASF, representing $20 million in campaign contributions in the last cycle alone.

As both the House and Senate wrestle with regulations regarding the financial industry, and with some members of Congress wanting to repeal financial reform legislation entirely, it’ll be interesting to see what role all this big money plays.


*All campaign finance data analyzed by Public Campaign Action Fund using data from the Center for Responsive Politics.