The answer is that there are enormous amounts of money being poured into lobbying in Washington on behalf of the financial services companies. $150 million in 2009 went into lobbying from the commercial banks and the investment banks. And that doesn't include money from the real estate industry or from big insurance companies or mutual funds. That's just commercial banks and investment banks. Bottom line: Washington is crawling with lobbyists who are operating on behalf of these companies to make sure that reform does not threaten their profitability -- no matter what the risk to the country as a whole.
The lobbyists are the "mules' in our addicted political culture. They bring the drugs to the users. The users are members of Congress. In the same way that you can't have an illegal drug sale unless there's a user willing to buy, you can't have a bribe unless there's some politician willing to be bribed.
And isn't it amazing that the bankers who buy off our members of Congress have the temerity to come out of their holes right after driving the nation into the brink? It's stunning to watch the brazenness with which they swagger about town, throwing some of our bailout tax dollars at legislators to make sure the legislators won't put up a formidable regulatory framework.
How do they get away with it?
A lot of it has to do with the culture in this country that prompts us to idolize people in positions of power, such as chief executive officers, who now make obscene amounts of money. There are all too few people willing to speak truth to this kind of power. Powerful people are almost always surrounded by yes people. They are kowtowed to like rock stars. Naturally it goes to their head and they almost always think only of themselves.