Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress may want to look tough on financial reform in front of voters but that has not stopped them from filling their re-election war chests with plenty of Wall Street cash.
The political action committees of six Wall Street banks spent the first quarter of 2010 giving handsome donations to Republicans and Democrats who are critical to passing legislation that could determine the future of the U.S. financial sector.
The banks — JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs — gave about $106,000 to 12 members of the Senate and House of Representatives who sit either in leadership positions or on the committees that forged the measures.
The sum is 40 percent of the $272,000 that the same institutions donated overall to political campaigns and committees between January and March.
But it is only a tiny fraction of the more than $30 million that has flowed into campaign coffers from the PACs and employees of banks, securities firms and finance companies since the 2010 election cycle began on January 1, 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the non-partisan watchdog that tracks the role of money in U.S. politics…
Wall Street has maintained a long and robust relationship with Washington decision-makers over the years, providing nearly $1 billion in campaign funds since 1990 and millions of dollars more on behind-the-scenes lobbying.
Analysts say big spending in Washington helps explain the evolution of the financial regulatory reform debate in the Senate, from harder-edged Democratic proposals last year to modifications that seem headed for a bipartisan deal with Republicans…
The biggest financial sector beneficiary in the current election cycle is Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who has received $1.6 million from securities firms and commercial banks, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Close behind are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with $1.5 million and fellow Republican Senator Bob Corker, who broke party ranks to open reform talks with the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Christopher Dodd. Corker raised $1.4 million from financial sources.
“Follow the money” never meant as much as it does in American politics. Whether it’s a weekly pay-off to a hometown police chief or six-figure political contributions to world-class congressional thugs, gold always settles to the bottom of the cesspool.