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The U.S. Army paid an army of lobbyists to help water down regulations meant to protect consumers from predatory banking practices, according to a recent report.
The report, which was released by the House Financial Services Committee, found that the Army paid at least $150 million over a two-year period to lobbyists and consulting firms to weaken banking regulations. The Army paid a total of $2.2 billion to outside contractors during that period.
The lobbyists, working on behalf of the Army, sought to weaken a number of banking regulations, including rules that would have required banks to disclose their fees and other costs associated with overdrafts, payday loans and debt collection. The Army was also pushing for changes to the Truth in Lending Act, which is meant to ensure that consumers receive accurate information about the cost of credit.
The report concluded that the Army's efforts were successful, and that the regulations were weakened as a result.
The findings have raised questions about the role of the military in influencing the banking industry. The report notes that the Army's actions may have contributed to the financial crisis of 2008.
The report also raised questions about the use of taxpayer funds to pay for lobbying efforts by the military.
The Army's actions are the latest in a series of reports highlighting the influence of special interests in Washington. Last month, a report by the Center for Public Integrity found that lobbyists spent $3.5 billion in 2018 to influence Congress and the White House.
The Army has defended its use of lobbyists, saying that it is necessary to ensure that the military's interests are represented in Washington.
The findings of the report are likely to fuel calls for increased scrutiny of the military's use of lobbyists and other outside contractors. The report also raises questions about the effectiveness of existing banking regulations, and whether they are strong enough to protect consumers from predatory lending practices.