Five Years After TARP, Wall Street’s Influence in Washington is Still Strong

Thursday, October 3, marks the fifth anniversary of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) being signed into law and a new report from Public Campaign and Home Defenders League highlights the billions the industry has spent to gum up reforms meant to ensure such a crisis never happens again. The industry has spent $3.2 billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions since 2009.

Read the full report at

"When the banks were hurting our elected leaders dropped everything to bail them out. The banks have rewarded politicians with more than a billion dollars, but families like mine and my neighbors are still fighting illegal foreclosures and waiting for relief from the mortgage crisis," said Sherry Hernandez, a member of the Home Defenders League who faces trial in Washington DC on Monday over a protest at the Covington law firm against the influence of Wall Street int the nation's capitol. "I travelled to Washington DC in May to risk arrest demanding that Wall Street be held accountable and relief get to our communities. Wall Street has increased their profit by over 30% since the crisis, from our misery, while we are robbed of our homes, our credit rating which makes it difficult to begin again with a new business venture or a new job." 

"Wall Street's money and clout in Washington helped buy the policies that led us into the recession," said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. "Over the past five years, they've spent to ensure Congress continues to treat them kid gloves."

The analysis looks at overall spending by the industry and highlights several case studies of Wall Street’s ability to pass policies favorable to them or stop those they don’t like.

Key points:

  • The finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector has donated $1 billion to federal candidates and parties since 2009, according to analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics. It was the top-giving industry in 2012.
  • The industry spent $2.2 billion on lobbying during that same period. In fact, more than 3,000 lobbyists worked on financial reform legislation in 2010, as Dodd-Frank was being debated. Half of them had previously worked as Capitol Hill aides, members of Congress, or executive branch staffers.
  • The five biggest bank recipients of bailout funds—AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo—have spent a combined $128.4 million on political influence since 2009.

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  • commented 2014-06-02 17:27:49 -0700
    I’m wondering why this isn’t on the news everyday, why we haven’t revolted against these high end criminals. Come on even the mob probably looks at this and says, “that’s just messed up”. To keep stealing from us when we’re already down. I put my life savings as my down payment in January 2007, and received my eviction notice for June 11, with no money, job and no where to go, seems like I’d be better off dead. :(
  • commented 2013-12-25 11:21:11 -0800
    Thank you