You are hereDealBook: Lobbying Blitz Takes On Obama’s Wall St. Overhaul

DealBook: Lobbying Blitz Takes On Obama’s Wall St. Overhaul

March 28, 2010- With the Obama administration looking to score another major legislative victory, an array of pro-business groups and fiscal conservatives are mounting a well-financed campaign to scale back or block altogether the Democrats’ plan to overhaul regulation of the financial industry, The New York Times’s Eric Lichtblau and Edward Wyatt report from Washington.

By the time the campaign is over, opponents of regulation plans will probably have spent tens of millions of dollars to lobby Washington lawmakers, run advertisements and start petition drives. It is an effort that many of the players, from the United States Chamber of Commerce down to smaller splinter groups, see as vital to their economic survival.

“This is a re-ordering of our financial institutions for generations to come,” Paul Schott Stevens, president of the Investment Company Institute, said last week at a meeting hosted by the chamber.

Wall Street executives say that although they support increased regulation, the changes sought by Democrats could exacerbate the problems that emerged in the 2008 economic crisis rather than fix them. Among the targets of their criticism are the creation of a consumer financial protection agency, the establishment of a multibillion-dollar fund to head off bailouts of companies deemed “too big to fail,” and the regulation of derivatives as well as other high-risk trading instruments.

On the opposing side, labor unions and other groups are pushing hard to enact tougher measures, including provisions to rein in executive compensation and allow shareholders more say on a company’s board.

Many of the arguments the financial industry is making in opposition to the plan echo the themes heard in the health care debate: more government involvement is the problem, not the solution; tightened regulation risks stifling competition; and the plan is fiscally irresponsible.

But the common refrains mask the divisions among the legislation’s opponents, who tend to agree that the overhaul is dangerous but point to very different elements of the House and Senate plans.



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