Feb 042014

Welcome to Capital Account. US president Barack Obama makes the case in Florida for the Buffett rule — a minimum tax rate for millionaires. Then, he reportedly heads to a 15,000 dollar a head campaign fundraiser. So how does that work exactly? The presumably wealthy people paying 15 thousand dollars for dinner with Obama are giving him money so that he can raise their taxes? What exactly is in it for them? We’ll talk about how the political process really works when it comes to money in politics with our guest, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He was convicted and sent to prison for mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and tax evasion. He served four years before being released on December 3, 2010. After his release form prison, he wrote the book Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth about Corruption from America’s most Notorious Lobbyist.

And what about the industries that benefit most from lobbying? The finance along with real estate and insurance sectors (FIRE) rank third in the amount of money spent lobbying over the past 13 years. One might deduce that it’s paying off because banks have been investing more in it over the years. Commercial bank lobbying consumed 60 million dollars in 2011. The biggest spenders for 2011 were American Banker’s association, Wells Fargo, JP morgan, Citigroup, Independent Bankers Association, and Bank of America.