Supporters of big banks may be publicly writing off OWS, but privately, they're starting to shake in their boots.
A Washington lobbying firm with plenty of buddies in the finance industry sent a proposal this week to one of their clients, the American Bankers Association. The pitch? For a bargain price of $850,000, Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford would conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and sympathetic politicians. CLGC's memo [PDF], obtained by MSNBC, warns that a Democratic alliance with the movement "has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.” It goes on to say that the "bigger concern should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies.”
The memo takes for granted that Democrats will successfully harness the power of OWS to their benefit, citing Democratic strategists who have identified the movement "as a way to tap this populist anger." It remains to be seen whether Occupy Wall Street will align themselves with or donate to elected officials or candidates; unlike the Tea Party, OWS activists seem intent on calling out the corruption of politics rather than propping up a particular party. Regardless, it's probably a safe bet that OWS supporters won't be voting Republican—a big problem for Wall Street.
The ABA told MSNBC that the memo was unsolicited and that they chose not to act on it. Still, the document provides us with an unusually frank look at how the finance industry may view the protesters—and how desperate they are to undermine their credibility. It's also a thumbs-up to Occupy Wall Street: The movement is resonating so much that the financial lobby feels the need to warn their clients about it. Supporters (and beneficiaries) of big banks may be publicly writing off the movement as frivolous, violent, un-American protesters, but privately, they're starting to shake in their boots.