Patt Morrison for November 16, 2010

Lobbyists take on Financial Regulatory Reform

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Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

A sign showing K Street is shown in Washington,DC. A stone's throw from the White House, K Street is an alternative corridor of power in US politics, packed with thick carpeted offices and lobbyists with even deeper pockets.

The U.S. economy is still reeling from the economic collapse—unemployment is high, banks have restricted their lending practices, retail sales are low and foreclosures are high. There have been numerous investigations into what caused the meltdown and how to prevent another one. Congress spent months putting together regulations aimed at preventing an economic disaster capable of wreaking havoc on the U.S. and world economy. Given the great risk associated with financial markets left unchecked, it might be reasonable to expect government to keep a closer eye on Wall Street. And yet lobbyists are lining up to pressure regulators to loosely interpret or weaken financial regulatory reforms. They have filed numerous appeals and logged hundreds of meetings asking for exemptions from restrictions on the trading of derivatives to writing risky loans. Is this a case of balancing competing interests or irresponsibility? Does Congress have the right to protect the financial markets from another economic collapse even if it means reigning in Wall Street, or will reigning in Wall Street have an impact on the economy?


Mary Bottari, director of the Real Economy Project at the Center for Media and Democracy

Bart Chilton, member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

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