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Nov. 16, 2009

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 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 Union.

“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.

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