Goldman Sachs now a Washington lobbying power

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The specter of heightened regulations has pushed Goldman Sachs--almost against its will--to become a major power in the realm of Washington lobbying.

Historically, the bank has kept a low profile, regarding the idea of politics as somewhat beneath it. It rarely went public with its positions, "Preferring to let trade groups such as SIFMA highlight key issues." Golman Sachs almost never circulated material to reporters on key matters. But it hardly afford to be so insular now. It's executive have been roundly beaten up and in some ways, Dodd-Frank took direct aim at lucrative franchises. And that has led it to invest heavily in its Washington operations.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the company, led by former Hill staffer Michael Paese, spent $4.6 million lobbying the federal government last year, more than any other company in the securities industry. It just might top that this year. And that sort of focus has led to benefits as a whole for the industry.

"By many accounts, Goldman has become an influential, behind-the-scenes player in Washington. Its quiet lobbying, for instance, is widely believed to have helped water down some key provisions of the financial reform law that would directly affect its business." The firm has hired some big guns from major Washington lobbying firms, including former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt.

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