This post originally appeared at Open Left.
If you are not familiar with the term “revolving door” it describes people who move from lobbying firms to government and back.
The Sunlight Foundation has just come out with Revolving Door From Capitol Hill to Big Banks,
Concerned about seeing their huge profits cut, six big banks are leading the charge to weaken or block new financial regulations being considered in the United States Senate. To push their cause these banks have hired 145 former government officials–congressmen, staffers and executive branch officials–to lobby on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch.
And they are spending a ton of money,
The top six bank holding companies engaged in lobbying on financial regulation include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, these banks spent a combined total of $23.8 million lobbying Washington in 2009.
Please go over to Sunlight and take a look at this.
The level of influence that the largest corporations have over our government is not a surprise to anyone. The way it works is we are supposed to have a marketplace that is a level playing field and our government officials make the rules of that playing field from a distance, uninfluenced. Companies then compete on that playing field, and the ones who best serve the public are rewarded.
But what happened is that the rulemaking was not kept apart from the players on the field. Imagine a player in a football game approaching the rulemakers in the middle of a game and offering $150K to change a rule. And obviously that player then gains from the change and the gain enables more resource for more and larger bribes. How fast does the playing field tilt completely to that player?
So what we have is the largest companies setting the rules of the playing field so that the game comes out in favor of … the largest companies. Oil, tobacco, health insurance, we see it everywhere.
The solution? Prohibit company resources from leaking out of the company in any way that can influence the public or legislators. Company funds should be used to run the company only. Of course, the Supreme Court just did the opposite…