Some in Congress Tap Bank Fundraisers Before Well Shut Off

Monday, 17 May 2010 03:38 PM

By Dan Weil

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Members of Congress continue to seek campaign contributions from banks, despite the financial crisis, and banks are happy to provide them.

The financial industry is hosting fundraisers for legislators at the rate of almost once a business day this month, Bloomberg reports.

At least 20 senators and representatives are involved, according to Democratic and Republican Party committee schedules sent to prospective donors.

One reason banks are so happy to give members of Congress money now it that the Senate is working on a bill to tighten bank regulation.

And some of the same lawmakers who are criticizing banks for their role in the financial crisis also are taking money from them.

In a statement April 29, Rep. John Adler, D-N.J., said, "Our families demand accountability for Wall Street's actions, and Congress must stand up to special interests and deliver.”

But this week, he’s having a “financial services dinner” in Washington with a minimum contribution of $1,000, according to Bloomberg.

Adler supported a December House Democratic bill that will have to be reconciled with the Senate’s version. He is one of five House Financial Services Committee members who have scheduled bank fundraisers this month, Bloomberg reports.

Some see a problem in all of this of course.

“How hard are you going to be on somebody who’s handing you money?” Bill Allison, an editor at the Sunlight Foundation, which aims to fight government corruption, told Bloomberg.

He’s not the only one who feels this way.

“The industry is trying to blunt the impact of Wall Street reform,” Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, told Bloomberg. “Their lobbyists will pay tribute in the form of campaign donations.”

Amid all the fundraisers, Democratic senators will argue among themselves this week about whether to strengthen some areas of the bank regulation bill that Republicans and industry lobbyists strongly oppose.


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