The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Phone: (202) 588-1000

Members of House, Senate Banking Committees Rake in Wall Street Campaign Cash, New Report Shows

Financial Industry Has Contributed Two and a Half Times as Much Money to Banking Committee Members Than Other Lawmakers


While Congress has debated legislation to reform Wall Street, the
financial services industry has showered members of the Senate and
House banking committees with about two and a half times as much money,
on average, as other members of Congress, according to a new Public Citizen report.

The industry - including banks, investment firms, insurance
companies and real estate companies - has given $42 million in campaign
contributions to lawmakers and their leadership political action
committees since the current election cycle began in November 2008. The
industry has concentrated its contributions on members of the House and
Senate banking and the congressional leadership, the report showed.

The 94 members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban
Affairs and the House Committee on Financial Services, which are
considering new banking regulations, have received nearly $15 million
in campaign contributions since the 2010 election cycle began in
November 2008, the analysis shows.

Members of the Senate leadership have received nearly three times
their share from the industry while House leaders have received close
to seven and a half times as much as their congressional peers.

"The finance sector is investing most heavily in the very lawmakers
who will decide the new rules of the road," said Public Citizen
President Robert Weissman, who was scheduled to speak Monday at a rally
in front of Goldman Sachs' Washington, D.C., headquarters to demand
Congress take immediate action on reform. Also to appear at the rally
were National People's Action and the Service Employees International

"It appears that Wall Street's biggest profit center is not in
Manhattan but in Washington, D.C. Investing millions in the lawmakers
who are crafting new financial regulations has the potential to earn
them billions down the line if they can escape meaningful regulatory
controls. It looks like an attempt to buy access and influence at
precisely the time when the big banks are lobbying intensely to weaken
or kill legislation that would rein in their reckless behavior."

Weissman added that, "It's outrageous that firms such as Goldman
Sachs, with its projected $23 billion in bonuses and compensation,
would try to block reform while continuing the extravagant pay
practices that helped create this country's financial crisis."

Public Citizen's analysis used data provided by the Center for
Responsive Politics to break down contributions from the financial
services to members of Congress and their political action committees.

READ Public Citizen's report.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

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