Members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have received $41 million from the financial sector during their time in Congress, according to a new report from Public Campaign and National People’s Action, “Wall Street and the Supercommittee: The $41 Million Question.” At least 27 current or former aides for the “supercommittee” members have lobbied on behalf of financial firms.
“Wall Street bought the deregulation that led to our economic collapse and the American public has paid the price,” said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. “The supercommittee should not give Wall Street and big banks another free ride because of their campaign cash.”
Tax reforms such as closing the “Hedge Fund Loophole” and instituting a Financial Speculation Tax can generate over a trillion dollars that can be used for housing, jobs, and repairing our nations’ frayed social safety net, according to National People’s Action.
“Wall Street and the big banks are trying to buy their way out of paying their fair share. We know where the money is to rebuild our economy and it’s not in the pockets of school children or in Grandma’s pension – it’s on Wall Street,” said George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action.
In addition to summary data, the report provides individual details for each member of the committee, including their campaign contributions from financial interests, former aides working for the industry, and fundraising activity.
- The 12 members of the supercommittee have received at least $41 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector during their time in Congress.
- They have received nearly $900,000 from three of the top American banks—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo
- Since 2000, the industry has spent over $4 billion lobbying elected officials.
- Nearly 30 former aides to the 12 members work as lobbyists for financial industry interests.
The report concludes, “The decisions this supercommittee makes in the coming months will show whether Wall Street influence guides policymakers or the hardships faced by everyday Americans are taken into account. Regular people didn’t create toxic assets or ship jobs overseas. Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a political system that allows those who caused the economic disruption we see on Main Street in town after town and city after city to buy their way out of responsibility.”
In August, Public Campaign and National People’s Action signed a letter with two-dozen organizations urging the supercommittee members to give up fundraising and provide complete transparency of their meetings with lobbyists, donors, and corporate CEOs. So far, five members of the committee have announced that they would slow or curtail fundraising.