The "vampire squid" is stretching its tentacles.
As Goldman Sachs faced arguably one of its most challenging quarter in decades -- on several fronts, from SEC charges and lagging profits to financial regulatory reform and renewed scrutiny of all its activities -- the firm increased its spending on lobbying by almost 40% in the second quarter of 2010 and has already spent almost as much in the first half of this year as it did in all of 2009.
In its most recent lobbying report filed last night, Goldman spent $1.58 million to influence Congress and the White House on a host of issues including Wall Street reform -- specifically derivatives regulation, bank tax and financial risk management -- the much-debated unemployment benefits extension, municipal finance, small business funding, climate change legislation and transportation funding.
Goldman paid a number of prominent lobbying firms, many of them staffed by former Congressional aides and lawmakers -- the Gephardt Group led by former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt ($50,000), Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher ($20,000) and the Harold Ford Group founded by former Congressman Harold Ford Sr. ($30,000).
Overall, Wall Street ramped up its lobbying in the quarter in a furious attempt "at derailing or diluting the financial reform legislation that Congress finally enacted this month," reports Reuters. At the bill's signing ceremony on Wednesday morning, President Obama noted that battle: "To get there, we had to overcome an array of powerful lobbyists."
JPMorgan Chase increased its lobbying spending from $1.51 million in the first quarter to $1.52 in the second quarter; Wells Fargo $1.02 million to $1.3 million; Bank of America $940,000 to $1.09 million; Citigroup $1.44 million to $1.47 million.