However, financial services entities and other corporate lobbying giants are putting enormous amounts of money behind their efforts to prevent a Wall Street tax from passing. The largest campaign contributor in the 2018 and 2020 cycles was Charles Schwab, which gave $13.9 million in total.
Groups on both sides of this issue are lobbying, but those opposing the FTT have significantly more lobbyists and more campaign money, causing an unfair fight that leaves average Americans’ voices underrepresented. There are many advocacy groups that are championing the FTT, including a coalition of 68 groups that signed a letter to Congress in favor of the Wall Street Tax of 2021. However, many of these organizations engage in public education and grassroots organizing instead of lobbying.
The difference in lobbying power is striking: nine out of the ten organizations that have the most lobbyists working on FTT issues strongly oppose the tax. The three organizations with the most lobbyists fighting the FTT are all lobbying giants: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Investment Company Institute.
Anti-FTT lobbying groups are strategically targeting contributions at specific members of Congress that are central to the passage of the FTT and investment related bills. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, is arguably the most vocal opponent of the FTT in Congress. He received the second highest amount of money from FTT lobbying groups out of any member of the House. McHenry received $703,930, combined, in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.
The FTT has not even received a dedicated hearing in Congress in recent years despite support from unions and nonprofits, as well as endorsements from multiple presidential candidates during the 2020 race, including then-candidate Joe Biden. The lack of movement of this tax through Congress is likely in part because of opposition from key members of Congress who receive enormous donations from anti-FTT organizations.
It is our hope that by revealing just how skewed this fight has been in favor of corporate interests, members of Congress will feel pressure to give a Wall Street tax a fair hearing in full public view.
Originally posted at Citizen.org.