June 21, 2010 

Democrats Seeking to Weaken Financial Reform Bill Have Received Far More Industry Campaign Contributions

New Democrat Coalition Members Who Signed Letter in Support of Weaker House Regulations Have Received an Average of $55,000 More This Cycle

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The 43 members of the New Democrat Coalition who last week sent a letter urging U.S. House of Representatives and Senate negotiators to weaken the financial reform bill’s regulation of derivatives have received an average of 44 percent more in campaign contributions from the financial services sector than the 25 coalition members who did not sign the letter.

Signatories of the letter have received an average of $180,001 from the financial services sector this election cycle, compared with $124,937 for those who did not sign, according to Public Citizen’s analysis of data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org). As in Public Citizen’s past analyses of financial sector data in the context of the financial reform bill, contributions from the health insurance industry were excluded from the calculations even though it is categorized as part of the financial services sector.

Signatories have received an average of $203,506 from the financial services sector for each campaign cycle, since 1998, compared with $140,738 for non-signers.

During the current cycle, the top five recipients among coalition members - and nine of the top 10 - signed the letter. Those receiving the most were Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), $717,554; Rep. Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.), $637,878; and Rep. Melissa Bean, (D-Ill.), $544,525. Rep. Joe Crowley, (D-N.Y.), who has received the most among coalition members since 1998 ($2.6 million), also signed the letter.

“This letter asks conferees to weaken the derivatives provisions substantially, exempting far too many firms from the core clearing and exchange requirements and letting the big banks use federal subsidies to engage in risky gambling,” said David Arkush, director of the Congress Watch division of Public Citizen. “If conferees follow the New Democrats’ wishes, the bill won’t even protect us from a financial meltdown like the one we just had.”

See a chart breaking down the contributions.