There are a hundred paths to power in Washington, and most don't require a presidential appointment or a certificate of election. Behind the elected members of Congress and the regulators appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the permanent government: the lobbyist, agency officials and committee aides who makes policy for the financial services industry, year in and year out.

They are influential because they know how to pull at least one of the levers of power in Washington. They are the lobbyists who know which Senator can insert an obscure, special interest provision into a pending bill, and the congressional aides who know how much they must compromise to assemble a majority.

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