BlackRock’s efforts to capitalize on the financial crisis and transform itself into the world’s largest asset manager have been well documented, but the firm’s successful intervention into politics has been less widely covered. Since 2008, BlackRock has leveraged its increased political spending to gain access to decision makers in Washington and maintain its dominance of the asset management industry.
Today, BlackRock employs former top government officials as its lobbyists, contributes widely to congressional campaigns, and its employees have held key positions in the Trump administration. Despite its historical ties to Democrats, BlackRock has worked to build close ties to Trump aides. From a nonexistent presence during the Bush administration, BlackRock’s lobbying team has become an integral part of the financial industry’s operation in Washington.
CfA’s new report, BlackRock’s Washington Playbook, details how the company increased its political spending to bolster its bottom line, beat back the stringent Too Big to Fail designation, and become one of the most important financial companies in the world. While following a traditional model to influence Washington, BlackRock has silenced calls for the company to be more transparent in its political dealings and has failed to use its leverage with other companies to encourage transparency.