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The Nation

Wall Steet Not Giving to Dems: Good Riddance

Wall Street donations to the two Democratic congressional campaign committees are down 65 percent from two years ago, The Post reports. Party insiders say “the overwhelming factor is the rising anger among financial executives who think they have not been treated well based on their support of Democrats over the past four years.”

The National Journal writes that Wall Streeters are “sick of being used as political punching bags.”

And Post columnist Steven Pearlstein suggests that “bad blood” between big business and the Obama administration is “not a good thing.”

Given the reckless corporate behavior that led to the collapse of the economy and the consequent need for a new financial regulatory regime, I hardly think soothing the hurt feelings of bankers, hedge funders and corporate CEOs should be a priority.

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon doled out $65,000 in contributions to the Dems in 2006 and 2008 and nothing this cycle. Good riddance. The same goes for Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who’s given zilch to Dems after showering candidates with $50,000 in the previous two election cycles.

Rather than greasing the skids so Blankfein et al. resume their big-buck donations, isn’t it time legislators focus on diminishing the strings-attached purchasing power of corporate campaign contributions?

That’s exactly what the Fair Elections Now Act would do by severing the ties between big-money contributors and members of Congress. The bill has 22 cosponsors in the Senate (not a single Republican), and 157 bipartisan cosponsors in the House. It would bar participating congressional candidates from accepting contributions larger than $100 and allow them to run honest campaigns with a blend of small donations and public matching funds. Only candidates demonstrating their viability through meeting a minimum threshold of signatures and small donations would be eligible.

A coalition is now pressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep her pledge to vote on Fair Elections this year. She should.


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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel is an American editor and publisher. She is the editor, publisher, and part-owner of the magazine The Nation. She has been the magazine's editor since 1995.


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