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News Release: Wall Street Money In 2019-20 Election Cycle Hits Highest Level Ever

During the 2019-20 election cycle, Wall Street spent at least $2.9 billion on campaign contributions and lobbying to influence policy in Washington, according to a report released today by Americans for Financial Reform. That total, which amounts to $4 million a day, shatters the previous record of $2 billion set in the 2015-16 presidential cycle. The highest-ever level of spending by Wall Street banks and financial services reflects the industry’s relentless push to influence decision-making, regardless of the party that controls Congress or the executive branch.

Report: Wall Street Money in Washington, 2019-2020

In the 2019-20 election cycle, Wall Street banks and financial services interests reported spending $2.9 billion to influence decision-making in Washington. That total – officially reported expenditures on campaign contributions and lobbying – works out to $4 million a day. This level is a full 50 percent above the previous record of $2 billion in the previous presidential cycle, reflecting the industry’s enduring effort to influence policy no matter which party controls Congress and the executive branch.

Report: Wall Street Money Supporting 147 Lawmakers Objecting to Certification

On January 6, 2021, Congress was scheduled to formally certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. But based on spurious allegations of voter fraud, 147 Republican members of the Senate and the House of Representatives voted to object to either the results in Arizona or Pennsylvania or both. Individuals and entities associated with the financial sector reported making a total of $43,483,590 in contributions to these members.

Letters to Regulators: AFR Education Fund Calls on SEC for Stronger Regulation of Funds in Wake of March 2020 Bailout

The AFR Education Fund sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission responding to a request for comment on regulatory options for money market funds in light of the collapse and bailout of many money market funds during the March 2020 coronavirus financial shock. The letter called for strong new regulatory steps to fix incentives that create financial instability for these products. It also questioned whether additional regulation should be extended to other types of fixed-income investment funds beyond money market funds narrowly defined, as there is evidence that these types of fund arrangements can also contribute to financial instability.

Clean Energy Climate

News Release: Federal financial stability watchdog stirs while some regulators snooze on climate

“The FSOC and Treasury must pivot from this meeting and push lagging regulators to turn today’s words on climate into bold and timely action. At its next meeting, the FSOC should take the concrete steps we recommend in the Climate Roadmap. There’s still time to act, but no more time to delay.”

— Alex Martin, Senior Policy Analyst, Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund

a melting glacier

News Release: Financial Regulation an Essential Tool for Fighting Climate Crisis

The “Climate Roadmap for U.S. Financial Regulation,” from Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund and Public Citizen, outlines how Biden appointees can protect investors, workers, and the economy from the escalating risks caused by the climate crisis, while also shifting the regulatory framework towards one that promotes the transition to a low-carbon future.

In The News: Biden’s New Playbook for Greening the Financial System (The Atlantic)

“The nonprofits Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform have released an early copy of their new “roadmap” for climate-finance reform to The Weekly Planet. It’s a guide to what the new executive branch might do to shift the flows of capital toward greener investments.”

“Not that this will be easy. Yesterday, Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, wrote a letter to the San Francisco Fed implying that it should stop researching “climate economics,” labeling the topic “bitterly partisan.” He’s not wrong—climate change is bitterly partisan. But all of the country’s largest banks have issued climate policies nevertheless. And if it is partisan, that is because partisans fought greenhouse-gas regulation for so long that climate change has become a costly and whole-of-society issue. The financial system is where those costs come to roost. Any big problem, ignored for long enough, becomes a financial issue.”