Crony Capitalism Wall Streets Favorite Politicians

A full 90 members of Congress who voted to bailout Wall Street in 2008 failed to support financial reform reining in the banks that drove our economy off a cliff. But when you examine campaign contribution data, it’s really no surprise that these particular lawmakers voted to mortgage our economic future to Big Finance: This election cycle, they’ve raked in over $48.8 million from the financial establishment. Over the course of their Congressional careers, the figure swells to a massive $176.9 million.

The complete list of these Crony Capitalists is below, along with the money they pulled in from Big Finance, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org). The career data goes back to 1989. Of the 69 House members who voted with Wall Street on both the bailout and financial reform, 60 are Republicans, while nine are Democrats. All 21 Senators who voted with Wall Street on both issues are Republicans, and Republicans raked in over 90 percent of the total campaign contributions. Here’s a chart showing Wall Street’s total contributions to this crowd for the 2010 cycle, by political party:

And here’s one showing total Wall Street contributions over the course of their careers:

These aren’t the only politicians carrying water for Wall Street—only the most flagrant. Some of the bank lobby’s savviest servants on Capitol Hill do their dirty work early in the legislative process. They push through technical amendments and deploy complex procedural tricks to defang a bill, but when the final vote comes, they can still create the appearance of taking a stand against Wall Street’s interests. Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., is a master of this technique, and Tea Party favorite Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., was able to claim credit for voting in favor of reform after demanding—and receiving—a host of big bank giveaways in return for his vote.

Nor are Republicans the only recipients of Wall Street largesse. Bean, for instance, has pulled in over $773,000 from Wall Street in the 2010 cycle alone, while working overtime to carve loopholes into new consumer protections (she’s scored $2.4 million over the course of her Congressional career). And the Democratic leadership has received millions as well.

When it comes to dealing out economic damage, no special interest group has been able to wreak more havoc that Big Finance. After inflating an $8 trillion housing bubble and sparking a recession that has cost the economy over 8 million jobs, public pressure to crack down on Wall Street was intense. And the public is still clamoring for Wall Street accountability—after two years in office, the Wall Street reform bill remains the most popular legislative effort championed by President Barack Obama, and getting tough on Big Finance has been a reliable re-election strategy for embattled incumbents.

But harnessing the Wall Street beast proved a tortuously long and difficult process, taking nearly two years despite its economic urgency. And while the bill that Congress approved this year has plenty of virtues, many of the most critical reforms were simply not addressed by the legislation. The too-big-to-fail financial behemoths that taxpayers bailed out in 2008 are even bigger today, banks can still gamble with taxpayer money, and the foreclosure crisis continues to ravage neighborhoods across the country. Until these issues are addressed, the U.S. economy will remain beholden to Wall Street’s bonus-crazed whims.

But if you follow the money, it’s obvious why so much work remains to be done on financial reform. This year alone, Wall Street spent a staggering $251 million fighting financial reform. According to a separate analysis of campaign contributions performed by Public Citizen, lawmakers who voted with Wall Street on both the bailout and reform received nearly triple the campaign cash of those who opposed Wall Street (figures in the Public Citizen study don’t correspond to those I’ve compiled, as Public Citizen examined contributions from 2007 through July of 2010).

Despite the popularity of Wall Street reform, 90 members of Congress didn’t even want to publicly pretend to support reining in almost universally reviled banks. When you’re trying to decide which bums to throw out in November, here’s one place to start. These members of Congress are okay with setting up economic calamities, and they don’t mind paying for them with your tax dollars.

Here’s how Wall Street’s contributions break down among Wall Street’s 21 Senate Cronies. For 2010:

For their careers:

And here are all of the Cronies, along with their Wall Street hauls:

Senator 2010 Wall Street Cash Career Wall Street Cash
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) $1,600,000 $4,900,000
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) $1,500,000 $2,600,000
Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) $333,600 $3,300,000
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) $1,500,000 $3,300,000
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) $2,500,000 $3,500,000
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) $451,700 $1,200,000
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) $3,100,000 $3,300,000
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) $3,200,000 $4,700,000
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) $1,300,000 $2,600,000
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) $1,100,000 $2,000,000
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) $233,200 $1,100,000
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) $1,400,000 $2,600,000
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) $1,400,000 $4,700,000
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) $1,500,000 $4,200,000
Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) $2,800,000 $3,800,000
Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) $412,200 $2,500,000
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) $947,600 $34,000,000
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) $4,300,000 $5,300,000
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) $268,200 $909,700
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) $1,600,000 $3,900,000
Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) $435,200 $2,800,000
21 Republicans
0 Democrats
Senate Total $31,881,700 97,209,700
House Member 2010 Wall Street Cash Career Wall Street Cash
Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La. $106,500 $422,300
Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala. $611,600 $4,400,000
Rep. Gresham Barrett, R-S.C. $20,400 $806,700
Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark. $24,900 $663,700
Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill. $395,000 $1,900,000
Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. $1,200,000 $3,800,000
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio $1,300,000 $3,700,000
Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala. $90,400 $702,200
Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif. $190,000 $733,400
Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark. $257,700 $491,000
Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla. $123,100 $722,200
Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va. $92,700 $1,400,000
Rep. Charles Boustany Jr, R-La. $226,300 $934,600
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas $157,000 $840,500
Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C. $35,700 $494,000
Rep. Vernon Buchanan, R-Fla. $336,800 $1,400,000
Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif. $180,300 $940,300
Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. $588,000 $1,700,000
Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif. $413,400 $1,200,000
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. $2,100,000 $4,400,000
Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del. $749,100 $3,200,000
Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C. $23,400 $502,500
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. $110,000 $686,000
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas $161,500 $711,800
Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla. $86,100 $717,000
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas $90,600 $606,900
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa. $177,900 $881,000
Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas $324,200 $1,900,000
Rep.Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich. $8,500 $292,200
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo. $143,900 $904,400
Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Okla ($1,000) $340,700
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J. $86,200 $840,300
Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa. $251,600 $1,800,000
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas $140,000 $1,100,000
Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif. $171,500 $1,100,000
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich. ($1,000) $300,600
Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C. 0 $572,800
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. $173,900 $1,600,000
Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. $1,900,000 $4,200,000
Rep. John Kline, R-Minn $170,900 $989,100
Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif. $31,800 $748,000
Rep. Daniel E. Lungren, R-Calif. $147,700 $622,500
Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif. $132,100 $1,100,000
Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif. $144,500 $902,000
Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz. $130,900 $558,000
Rep. Sue Myrick, R-S.C. $93,600 $1,200,000
Rep. Soloman Ortiz, D-Texas $40,200 $381,700
Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif. $24,900 $462,000
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala. $128,200 $1,000,000
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky. $50,200 $468,000
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. $127,000 $986,000
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. $531,500 $1,900,000
Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio $121,900 $519,700
Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz. $39,700 $1,200,000
Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. $30,700 $403,600
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Ind. $20,500 $266,900
Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo. $112,500 $524,200
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas $258,900 $1,300,000
Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind. $40,500 $405,800
Rep. Zack Space, D-Ohio $169,300 $476,300
Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla. $79,200 $494,800
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb. $202,600 $1,400,000
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas $42,500 $603,400
Rep. Patrick Tiberi, R-Ohio $555,500 $2,800,000
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. $81,700 $929,400
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. $180,700 $732,400
Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn. 0 $715,700
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. $155,500 $580,200
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. $90,400 $1,100,000
60 Republicans $15,873,400 $72,443,800
9 Democrats $1,108,400 $7,233,000
House Total $16,981,800 $79,676,800

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