BANKERS BUY U.S. POLITICIANS
The very people who were in charge of keeping Wall Street honest are biggest beneficiaries of ‘kickbacks’
By Ralph Forbes
Wall Street Banksters doled out $2 billion to federal candidates and political parties since 1989 when the scam to rip off of the middle class of their savings and real property—with the fleeced taxpayers ultimately footing the bill—began to unravel.
That $2 billion “investment” enriched the contributors many times over—but the ultimate payoff was the $700 billion bailout that costs taxpayers $850 billion. The Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington nonprofit group that studies money and politics, reports congressmen who voted for the bailout bill took in 151 percent more in campaign contributions from the FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) lobby than those who voted against the give-away.
In this election cycle, the 140 House Democrats who voted for the bailout bill collected 78 percent more from the FIRE lobbies than the Democrats who opposed it. Over their careers, they collected 88 percent more. The 140 Democrats who supported the bailout received, on average, $792,744 over their careers from the FIRE sector—and $188,572 during this cycle.
Republicans in the House who voted yes on the bailout got 53 percent more than House Republicans who voted against it. The 65 Republicans who backed the bill collected $1,078,533 from the finance sector in their careers and an average of $185,461 to help them get re-elected this November.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, collected nearly $800,000 this election cycle from the FIRE industries.
Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican member of the committee, who voted for the bailout, took in $822,000 from the FIRE special interests this election cycle—for a total of $3.7 million since 1989.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) received nearly $6 million in the past two years from AIG, Lehman, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, etc. Eighteen of Dodd’s top 20 backers are FIRE’s insurance or financial companies.
The language creating slush funds for the Association of Community Organizatons for Reform Now (ACORN,) etc., was slipped into the misnamed “economic rescue” proposal by Dodd and Barney Frank.
Members of the House and Senate have received more than $180 million from PACs and individuals associated with FIRE this election cycle—and there’s still weeks to go. The FIRE sector has so far contributed more than $68 million to House members in this election, and nearly $315 million since 1989 to members who voted Monday.
These politicians say they were “voting their conscience,” and those bushels of dollars had nothing to do with their votes. To which populists respond, “liar”— hoping outraged voters will cast the incumbents out.
The establishment presidential candidates—who joined the “sky is falling” chorus—also benefited from FIRE’s largesse; Democrat Barack Obama collected about $25 million and John McCain $22 million.
Dodd’s proposal would set aside 20 percent (estimated $140 billion) from the Treasury’s sale of assets to the Housing Trust Fund to benefit ACORN. ACORN is a corrupt organization that has been accused and convicted of voter fraud in at least 13 states. Their tactics have ranged from registering dead people to trading cocaine for illegal ballots in Ohio in 2004.
Dodd has been rewarded in the 2008 election cycle with $7.65 million in campaign contributions—he took in $11.7 million in all—from FIRE, the securities, insurance, real-estate and commercial-banking industries, according to his latest Federal Election Commission filing posted at opensecrets.org.
With $165,400, Sen. Dodd also tops the list of members of Congress who took campaign cash from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since 1989. Sen. Barack Obama is a distant second at $126,000—but he’s only been in the Senate three years. Sen. John Kerry is third at $111,000. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are in the top 20.
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(Issue # 42, October 20, 2008)