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Financial Institution Lobbying: Who's Spending What, and Where?

Many of the nation's largest financial institutions lowered their spending on lobbying the federal government in 2012, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Although data is only available through Dec. 4, 2012, the reports suggest that year-end spending will be down significantly from 2011. That trend may reflect lower expectations for major legislative changes during a presidential election year.

The data include lobbying of Congress as well as federal agencies. They do not include state-level lobbying or contributions to third-party organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

(Image: Bloomberg News)

Visa, which faces a challenge from liberal investor groups in connection with its lobbying efforts at the state level, has also been active in federal lobbying. The Foster City, Calif., company's federal lobbying spending peaked in 2011, during the fight over whether to repeal price caps on debit swipe fees, at $6.9 million. Last year Visa reported spending $3.9 million on federal lobbying.

(Image: Bloomberg News)

American Express reported spending nearly $1.7 million on federal lobbying in 2012, down from a peak of $3.8 million in 2008. Much of AmEx's lobbying last year focused on credit-card pricing restrictions.

(Image: Bloomberg News)

Discover Financial Services reported federal lobbying expenditures of $1.4 million in 2012, down slightly from $1.6 million the previous year. In addition to legislation affecting credit cards, Discover lobbied in 2012 on issues related to student lending, which represents a growing part of the company's business.

(Image: Bloomberg News)

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Bank of America reported spending $1.9 million on federal lobbying in 2012. That was down from a peak of $4.9 million in 2008. Bills that B of A lobbied for last year included a measure that would create a framework for a U.S. covered bond market and others aimed at loosening rules on derivatives in the Dodd-Frank Act.

(Image: Bloomberg News)

Citigroup's reported spending on federal lobbying totaled nearly $4.7 million last year, its lowest level since 2005. One of the bills Citi lobbied on in 2012 was a measure that would have permanently extended a tax exemption for banking income earned overseas. That bill stalled in a House committee.

(Image: Bloomberg News)

Wells Fargo reported $5.3 million in spending on federal lobbying last year, down from an all-time high of $7.8 million in 2011. Wells, which is the largest originator of U.S. residential mortgages, lobbied on a number of housing-related issues, including the qualified mortgage rule, force-placed insurance, and the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

(Image: Bloomberg News)

JPMorgan Chase reported $4.9 million in federal lobbying expenditures in 2012, down significantly from 2010 and 2011, when it spent in excess of $7 million each year. Last year the company lobbied on the implementation of the Volcker Rule and the risk retention provision in Dodd-Frank, among other issues.

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Many of the nation's largest financial institutions lowered their spending on lobbying the federal government in 2012, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Although data is only available through Dec. 4, 2012, the reports suggest that year-end spending will be down significantly from 2011. That trend may reflect lower expectations for major legislative changes during a presidential election year.

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