lawmaker wants big banks to disclose donations to think tanks
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[December 05, 2013]
By Elvina Nawaguna
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — A U.S. lawmaker
critical of Wall Street is pushing the nation's six largest banks to
voluntarily disclose their donations to think tanks, saying that not
doing so threatens the credibility and research of these policy groups.
In a letter to JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells
Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Democratic Senator
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts asked the banks to be transparent
in their financial dealings with think tanks so the public could
more carefully evaluate their work.
Financial institutions are required to disclose their contributions
to political campaigns and their lobbying expenditures, but no law
requires them to disclose their contributions to think tanks.
U.S. lawmakers often refer to the research and findings from think
tanks to draft policies.
"Just as there is transparency around your direct efforts to
influence policymaking through lobbying, the same transparency
should exist for any indirect efforts you make to influence
policymaking through financial contributions to think tanks," Warren
JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America declined to comment on
the issue. The other three banks did not immediately respond.
Warren, who has gained a reputation for pushing back against Wall
Street excess, said in her letter that these banks' shareholders,
the public and policymakers who depend on the research by think
tanks have a right to know of such contributions.
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"When you use corporate resources to support think tanks, there are
only two possible outcomes from public disclosure — those
contributions do not influence the work of the think tanks or those
contributions do influence the think tank's research and
conclusions," she said.
(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Karey Van Hall and Doina