As calls for Wall Street reform have gotten louder, high-frequency traders—people who manage programs that can make thousands of trades per second—have upped their campaign contributions tremendously. The study, which was released today from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), is startling in its detail on high-frequency traders. In addition to reporting on campaign contributions, the report also focuses on lobbying:
“Since 2008, HFTs have spent over $10 million lobbying Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), with a significant portion of the spending taking place as Congress debated financial regulatory reform.”
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan adds, “Despite all of the new regulations put forth in Dodd-Frank, these firms managed to come away unscathed. If lobbying and campaign contributions don’t directly buy influence in Washington, they certainly don’t hurt.”
See the full report, which includes these quotes from CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan:
Unsurprisingly, high-frequency traders upped their campaign contributions and lobbying spending at the same time Congress was debating a new law to crack down on the excesses of Wall Street. Despite all of the new regulations put forth in Dodd-Frank, these firms managed to come away unscathed. If lobbying and campaign contributions don’t directly buy influence in Washington, they certainly don’t hurt …
Let’s hope all the money high frequency traders are flashing doesn’t blind Congress to the risk of flash crashes.
Also see this video of what a half second of high-frequency trading looks like: