GOP Senator Richard Shelby has given up any pretense about big money’s ability to buy votes on Capitol Hill.
In response to complaints from the American Bankers Association that proposed regulations moving forward in Washington might actually prioritize the public’s well-being over Wall Street’s profits, Shelby urged them to donate to the senate campaign of his colleague, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
Asked what bankers could do to change the agenda, Shelby said, “What you can do is elect more Republicans to the U.S. Senate, that would help immensely.” He asked each of the attendees to send $10,000 to Roy Blunt, a former House leader who is now running for Senate as a Republican in Missouri.
Last time I checked, Wall Street was not in Missouri, and members of Congress were supposed to work for their constituents, not the highest bidders.
That said, I’m not naïve. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) may not have been too far off the mark when he said of the Senate that “the banks frankly own the place.”
But this is why, now more than ever, the people must turn up the pressure, remind their senators and representatives who they work for, and demand significant financial reform. While you’re at it, you should also tell your senators to support citizen-funded elections — and to forbid the corporate-funded elections that enable senators to sell their votes to the highest bidder.