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Saturday, April 14, 2012

The oligarchs strike back, banks to spend big in 2012

Oh yes, the banks are striking back in 2012.  No more sitting on the sidelines, after the American Autumn they worked the legal system passing laws restricting protest, and let's not forget you can be strip search anytime you're detained in the criminal justice system.


Big banks might have kept their heads down in 2010, but those days are over. A group of banks launched a super PAC to zero in on key congressional races recently. Earlier this year, financial services groups held a high-profile fundraiser for a candidate challenging a senior Senate Republican. And the industry is remembering its friends on Capitol Hill — shelling out cash to lawmakers who have consistently voted their way.

It’s a PR shift for banks, who lowered their profile after the widely unpopular bank bailout, which served as a rallying cry for the tea party.

But after President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill into law and the Occupy Wall Street movement amplified anti-bank rhetoric that even some Democrats in Congress picked up, it appears the industry has had enough. They’re taking a more vocal stand this cycle, and they’ve shown they’re willing to back up their talk with serious money — a scenario that should make both Democrats and some Republicans nervous heading into the summer campaign season.

“No one likes being kicked around, and there’s definitely that sentiment,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president for government affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents the banking industry in addition to other financial interests. The banking industry has always been a major player in political spending, but its increasingly aggressive tactics are a sign that some in the industry want to pack more of a punch on Capitol Hill, particularly with the sweeping overhaul to the financial system still under way and with big legislative reforms on the horizon.

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