One year after reform law passed, Wall Street still spending big on lobbying

Your Wall Street reform reading list for today

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 Updated:

 Ron Edmonds/The Associated Press

The financial industry has spent more than $100 million so far this year on lobbying to influence how the financial reform law is carried out, reports The New York Times. The biggest individual spenders: American Bankers Association at $4.6 million and JP Morgan Chase & Co. with $3.3 million.

Spending is down just 5 percent from last year, when lawmakers were writing the Dodd-Frank law amid an all-out lobbying campaign by banks, mortgage companies, companies that trade derivatives contracts, payday lenders and other financial services affected by the broad legislation.

“In 2010, the Dodd-Frank financial reform was one of the biggest shows in town, and that continues this year,” Michael Beckel of the Center for Responsive Politics told the newspaper. “Until it is chiseled in stone, the lobbying continues.”

The pressure from Wall Street seems to be getting results.  

In June, the Federal Reserve agreed to set a higher ceiling than initially proposed on the fees banks charge retailers for debit card purchases. Other regulators facing intense lobbying clout have backed off the Dodd-Frank law’s specific deadlines for rules. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities Exchange Commission, for example, agreed in June to delay many derivatives trading rules for up to six months.

Conflict minerals – U.S. manufacturers haven’t given up trying to derail a reform law requirement that companies disclose if they use “conflict minerals” mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Minerals that must be disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission include cassiterite, columbite-tantalite, gold, and wolframite, and are used to make cell phones, laptops, jewelry and other consumer goods. The SEC has not yet finalized the rules it proposed in December.

The requirement is too costly, especially for small firms, according to Stephen Jacobs of the National Association of Manufacturers. "The burden on smaller companies… will be disproportionately high and may even lead to companies having to go out of business," Jacobs  told a UN publication.

Derivatives traders overseas – Financial regulators want to know how regulations policing the $601 trillion swaps or derivatives market will affect business conducted overseas, Bloomberg reports.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) says it will publish information about the potential reach of the law, and seek a response from market traders such as banks and energy firms. The CFTC is preparing regulations to reduce risk and boost transparency in the derivatives market after unregulated transactions helped fuel the 2008 financial meltdown.

U.S. banks have complained that regulations will hurt them by sending more trading business to overseas rivals.  Bankers told the CFTC that U.S. regulators should try to coordinate their rules and timetables with those of foreign regulators.

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