campaign contributions, Christopher Dodd, Consumer Watchdog, financial sector, fundraisers, lobbyists, Richard Shelby, Senate Banking Committee
While watching the Senate Banking Committee Kabuki theater on reforming and regulating the financial industry, keep in mind the findings of this study from Consumer Watchdog:
* The financial sector is the largest source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties. Members of the Senate Banking committee aretop recipients of that largesse. Senate Banking committee members have received $41.9 million in campaign contributions from PACs and individuals in the financial sector since 2005.
* 24 former Senate Banking committee members or committee staff currently lobby on behalf of the financial sector. The total includes 4 former Senators and 7 former committee staff directors.
* Committee chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) raised $9 million from the financial sector, 51% of his fundraising over the five year period. Ranking member Richard Shelby (R-AL) raised $2.5 million, 28% of his total money raised, from the financial sector.
* Last November, Chairman Dodd tasked himself and seven other Banking committee members with re-drafting the major sections of financial reform legislation. These eight senators – Dodd, Shelby, Corker, Crapo, Gregg, Reed, Schumer, and Warner – have received the lion’s share of financial sector contributions to the committee: a total of $26.1 million.
* The financial sector and its lobbyists hosted at least 43 fundraisers for 11 members of the Senate Banking committee in 2009.
But on the bright side, jobs are being created:
* The financial sector hired 2567 lobbyists in 2009 and, in the first three quarters of the year, spent over $336 million lobbying Congress.
I like that lobbyist figure, and indeed a democracy should wonder who runs it if lobbyists outnumber its elected representatives probably one hundred to one! However, people you don’t create but only feed on wealth eventually will bring about their own downfall – bankrupt governments have a hard time bailing out or doling out!
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