FINRA is spending a lot more this year to explain its agenda to Congress, but that's nothing compared to what a few of the industry organizations regularly pay out to lobbyists.
The Lobbying Disclosure Act database is a great way to figure out just how much money trade groups and other entities are throwing around on Capitol Hill.
For example, as widely reported, FINRA spent 42% more money on lobbyists last quarter than it did a year ago -- a cool $50,000 of it to pay Michael Oxley to plead its side of the financial reform story.
But even at a quarterly spend of $300,000, FINRA's first-quarter spend wasn't a record. That honor goes to the third quarter of 2009, when the debate over what would become Dodd-Frank was just getting going.
By comparison, SIFMA reliably spends $1.2 to $1.3 million every three months. Again, this has been ramping up over the last year or so, but is still 12% less than what the broker-heavy organization was spending last summer.
While the FPA spends a lot less, it generally coughs up $108,000 a quarter on lobbyists. NAPFA and the CFP Board do not, but it's conceivable that the FPA dollars do double duty for the Financial Planning Coalition that represents all three planning groups.
But all these lobbying budgets pale in the face of groups like the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents the biggest firms and has taken to allocating around $7.5 million a year to making friends in Washington.
That's more than JP Morgan or Wells Fargo -- and more than Morgan Stanley and Bank of America put together.