Thursday, June 10, 2010

MPAA, myriad interest groups lobby on financial regulation bill

The Washington Post reports on the diverse lobby groups lining up to influence the financial regulation bill moving through Congress:

The Motion Picture Association of America, the trade group for the six big Hollywood studios, has been working to insert a provision banning a futures market for box office returns.

Two financial companies are trying to establish such futures markets, but studios are concerned that the exchanges could create negative publicity for films.

"Box office futures are not a commodity," said Howard Gantman, a spokesman for the association. "Especially if the industry is not allowed to invest in it, this just becomes a form of pure gambling..."

"The bill is so broad and goes into so many segments of the economy, it was bound to touch agriculture somewhere," said Adam Nielsen of the Illinois Farm Bureau. "We're looking at the bill and hoping there aren't any negative consequences. I think that would probably be the sentiment of a lot of people."

Nielsen said the bureau had concerns about whether, under the bill, farmers would be able to manage risk using options and futures, although the measure is not one of its top priorities.

U.S. Telecom, the trade association for broadband companies, is concerned about pieces of the Senate bill that could affect prepaid phone cards and a broad definition of "financial data processing" in the measure, which could regulate Internet companies with customers who bank online.

Several large utility companies, including Southern Co. and Florida Power & Light, have registered to lobby on provisions of the bill banning derivatives sold in private or "over the counter." Those financial instruments help even non-financial companies hedge against market forces changing prices for commodities or interest rates that affect their business, and many companies are seeking an exemption for end-users that depend on them.

The publishing company Argus Media, which provides energy news and business intelligence, also listed derivatives as one of the issues on which it would lobby. A company official declined to comment. Competitor McGraw-Hill also targeted the bill

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