What can $5 billion buy in Washington?
Quite a lot.
Over the 1998-2008 period, the financial sector spent more than $5 billion on U.S. federal campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures.
This extraordinary investment paid off fabulously. Congress and executive agencies rolled back long-standing regulatory restraints, refused to impose new regulations on rapidly evolving and mushrooming areas of finance, and shunned calls to enforce rules still in place.
“Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America,” a report released by Essential Information and the Consumer Education Foundation (and which I co-authored), details a dozen crucial deregulatory moves over the last decade — each a direct response to heavy lobbying from Wall Street and the broader financial sector, as the report details. (The report is available here.) Combined, these deregulatory moves helped pave the way for the current financial meltdown.
Here are 12 deregulatory steps to financial meltdown: (more…)