Meeting logs show financial industry with more access to regulators than independent watchdogs
WASHINGTON -- The financial industry has had the ear of federal regulators more often than industry watchdogs have, according to an analysis of meeting logs that span the two years since passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street overhaul law.
The non-partisan Sunlight Foundation looked at the logs of three of the major regulatory agencies given the task of drafting the 400 rules spawned by the sweeping legislation meant to address the financial collapse of 2008. The measure, partly named for Representative Barney Frank of the Newton, was signed into law on July 21, 2010.
The nation’s 20 biggest banks met 1,298 times with officials from the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, according to the foundation’s analysis.
In comparison, the same regulators had 242 meetings with what the foundation called “reform-oriented” groups.
The foundation said it did not analyze logs from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation because of concerns over data quality and comprehensiveness.
“While the meetings do not prove influence, they do highlight both the intensity and resources the big banks are devoting to rulemaking around Dodd-Frank,” said Sunlight Foundation Senior Fellow Lee Drutman in a blog post.
“If there’s one thing that this analysis shows, it’s that the banks are doing everything they can to make sure that their voice is being heard – much more so than groups that want tighter regulations.”
Among the top five banks: Goldman Sachs had 181 meetings, JPMorgan Chase 175, Morgan Stanley 150, Bank of America 122, and Citigroup 102.
The Consumer Federation of America met 34 times with officials from the three agencies included in the study, while Americans for Financial Reform met 32 times.
The CFTC had by far the most meetings over Dodd-Frank -- 683 meetings. The agency is undertaking much of the work over derivatives, high-risk investment deals that have usually operated in the shadows. New rules are meant to bring greater transparency to the $300 trillion US derivatives industry.
A Boston Globe report earlier this week showed that two years after the signing of the landmark legislation, the government has missed more than half of its rule-making deadlines, partly because it has been under siege by documents, public comments, hearings and meetings.Bobby Caina Calvan can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter @GlobeCalvan.