Congress Too Lazy to Write Bill, Copies Citigroup's Instead

When five mega-companies control 90-percent of a $700 trillion market, it's safe to say that they can afford some pretty good lobbyists in Washington.

According to a report from Mother Jones released on Friday, however, Citigroup's influence on Capitol Hill is so strong that the House Financial Services Committee passed legislation practically plagiarized from a proposal drafted by the bank's lobbyists. The power wielded by big business on the federal government is a terribly-kept secret, but the sheer blatancy in the shared language of the two bills—one by the banks, one ostensibly by Congress—is nauseating.

The bill in question is called the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act and is a direct response to the so-called "push-out rule" from a 2010 section of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Scheduled to go into effect on July 13, the push-out rule would forbid the trade of certain risky derivatives by banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).  This would make it more difficult for those banks to receive a government bailout should their risks devolve into a teeming pile of financial waste. The big five banks—Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo—would still be able to trade these occasionally toxic derivatives by non-FDIC insured affiliates, but the rule would remove the taxpayer's "promise" to cover costs should things go belly up (again).

Naturally, that provision wasn't palatable to Wall Street so the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act was born.

The 85-line bill—70 of which contained Citigroup's recommendations, according to the New York Times— is sponsored by Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Jim Himes (D-CT), and Sean Patrick Mahoney (D-NY). It passed 53-to-6 in committee.

Head over to Mother Jones to read specific excerpts of the Citigroup-written bill and the plagiarized legislation pushing through Congress.

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Brandon Perkins
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