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Sept. 23, 2010

Voting Record of Wall Street’s Favorites Shows Continuing Link Between Votes, Special Interest Cash

Members of Congress Receiving the Most Contributions From the Financial Sector Voted in Line With Their Financiers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As lawmakers today consider legislation to provide public funding of congressional elections, a new Public Citizen analysis shows that members of Congress who voted Wall Street’s way on the two most important financial services bills in recent years have received much more in campaign contributions from the financial sector than those who opposed the industry’s positions.

“Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who favored the Wall Street bailout and opposed tough financial regulation got three times more campaign cash from the financial sector than members who voted against Wall Street,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “It’s hard to dismiss the public view that special interest money is corrupting Washington – and that Congress should act quickly to fix the problem.”

Among House members receiving the most from the financial services industry, the top four – Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), John Boehner (R-Ohio), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) – voted both for the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP bailout) and against the 2010 financial reform bill. Wall Street gave House members who voted their way nearly three times as much as it gave to those who opposed the industry’s views on both bills.

Of the top 10 Senate recipients whose campaign coffers have been stuffed by Wall Street since 2007, three voted for TARP and against reform: Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Senators who voted for TARP and against reform received an average of $879,803 from the sector – more than $60,000 more than those voting the opposite way.

“This analysis shows the need for continued vigilence in implementing Wall Street reform, as the big banks staff up on lobbyists and fund politicians loyal to them,” said Arkush. “It also shows the urgent need for the Fair Elections Now Act, being marked up today by the Committee on House Administration, which would break the link between big money and votes by making it possible to fund a competitive campaign exclusively with donations of $100 or less.”

To read the full report, visit: http://www.citizen.org/documents/Wall-Street-Receipts20100924.pdf.

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