Who Are Banking Regulators Hearing From?
The Los Angeles Times has a good piece on financial reform today. The lede:
Having failed to block financial reform, Wall Street is now focused on the next best thing: ensuring that the law is loosely interpreted and weakly enforced.
Reporter Nathaniel Popper simply looked at the visitor logs and summaries available from the main financial regulators—the CFTC, the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and SEC—tallied them up, and noted that nine out of 10 meetings regulators held were with bankers, hedge funds, consumer finance companies, and/or their lawyers. If you ever wondered why the laws Congress pass often amount to nothing, here’s your explanation. The rules by which these laws and regulations are enforced are usually heavily influenced by the industries the regulations target.
Just the sheer number of meetings slows the process down, according to one regulator Popper quotes:
“I want to be professional and polite and courteous, and I’ll let them say their peace,” said Bart Chilton, a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. “But I don’t think it’s a very valuable use of their time or mine, because that is not the direction we were instructed to go by Congress.”
Chilton tells Popper he saw the same lawyers three times in two weeks, representing different companies but always making the same argument. “I have to say, the third time I had the meeting my attention span was dwindling,” Chilton said.
I’ll second that.
For those with an interest, here are the links to the visitors data the LA Times used for this story:
Federal Reserve (I think . . . these are links to big PDFs in which the relevant stuff might appear.)