SpinWatch, 20 March 2011
In light of Sunday Times’ revelations concerning MEPs being paid cash to place amendments on financial reform, a report published today by SpinWatch exposes financial lobbying in Brussels.
The report, entitled, Doing God’s Work: How Goldman Sachs Rigs the Game details Goldman Sachs’ secret lobbying activities in the UK and Brussels and links to politicians. It exposes:
The extensive links between Goldman Sachs and the Conservative Party;
* Political donations totalling £8.5million to British politicians in the past decade from Goldman and ex-Goldman people;
* Goldman Sachs’ immense lobbying machine in Brussels, including active membership of over a dozen financial sector lobby groups;
* Extensive meetings between Goldman Sachs and Conservative MEPs including: 9 meetings in six months with a key MEP on the Parliament’s Economics and Monetary Committee; and a total of 36 meetings between just four Tory MEPs and Goldman Sachs, its lobby groups or PR companies acting on their behalf;
* The bank’s lobbying campaign to undermine political reform on derivatives and alternative investment funds including: private dinners and unminuted “after office hours” meetings, high-level conferences and targeted campaigns to Commission officials, MEPs and their assistants;
* How Goldman Sach’s lobbyists tried to undermine amendments in a key report on derivatives, seen as “financial weapons of mass destruction”;
* The bank’s lobbying enabled them to gamble on food futures and drive up prices.
Report author, journalist Andy Rowell said: “A year ago, David Cameron said that lobbying was the next big scandal waiting to happen. This report shows that banks like Goldman Sachs – who are intricately connected to the Tories – continue to lobby to get what they want.”
Rowell continued: “The entire regulatory process – and the lobbying activity that surrounds it – has to become significantly more transparent and accountable. If it is allowed to be captured by bankers, the next financial crisis will only be a matter of time.”
The report is being published just as the debate on financial reform in Brussels reaches a crucial stage. The parliament and commission are finalising plans for reform of the OTC Derivatives market as well as Credit Default Swaps.
It also comes as the government is due to launch a consultation on a statutory register of lobbying, for the UK.
The report can be downloaded here.