Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society

The Mechanics of Legislation: Congress, the SEC and Financial Regulation

The Other Players

Special Interests

“The undersigned organizations are writing to urge your opposition to efforts to schedule time on the Senate floor for HR 10, the ‘financial modernization’ bill reported out by the Senate Banking Committee on September 11.  In its present form, HR 10 promotes the formation of giant financial conglomerates, but contains virtually nothing to safeguard access to fundamental banking services for consumers and communities.  In fact, this bill is totally opposed by virtually every community leader working to revitalize inner city neighborhoods and rural communities.”

September 23, 1998 Memo to Sarah Rosen from Allen Fishbein, Center for Community Change with grassroots opposition letter to HR 10

At every stage of the process of legislating -- from inception of an idea for changing the law, responding to an economic or political crisis shaped by scandal; to drafting legislation for reform of the system due to problems uncovered in oversight hearings or in the practical implementation of law or in evolving practices -- the securities and financial industry exerts enormous influence through its own experts.

The major industry associations include groups representing large and small securities firms, the major stock exchanges, specialized dealers in financial instruments, and banks. Today, international associations also lobby on legislation, due to the wide-ranging impact of legislation on all matters of both national and international securities and financial affairs.

Consumer groups and associations actively represent the interests of private and individual investors. Gaining their impetus in the consumerism movement of the 1960s and 1970s led by Ralph Nader and the rise of governance-oriented investors in the 1980s, these groups represent large numbers of individual investors, and exert significant influence on individual members of Congress.  When the groups see proposed legislation that they believe limits information or shifts protections away from the investor and in favor of the securities and financial industry, they marshal extensive resources to counter the effects of industry influence.

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Related Museum Resources


March 23, 1987
image pdf (Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration)
February 1989
image pdf (Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration)
April 16, 1998
transcript pdf (Courtesy of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum)
September 23, 1998
transcript pdf (Courtesy of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum)
October 28, 1999
image pdf (Courtesy of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum)

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