Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has come to the same conclusion as many experts outside the senate: Big banks use campaign money to unduly influence Congress.
The Illinois senator is fighting the banks on bankruptcy reform, as he seeks to garner the necessary 60 votes to prevent a filibuster. So far he’s failed.
Here’s what he told Chicago radio station WJJG: "And the banks — hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place."
Durbin is struggling to make sure the reform bill includes a cramdown provision, which allows bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of mortgages in favor of struggling homeowners.
As you might expect, banks oppose that provision. And some Democrats have joined Republicans in rallying to the banks’ side.
Before Durbin’s comments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told the Huffington Post that the cramdown could be excised from the bill.
A recent report from Forbes magazine shows that six Senators received more than 32 percent of their campaign contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate industries.
Not surprisingly, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, comes in first at 35.7 percent ($9.1 million).
And the committee’s ranking Republican, Richard Shelby of Alabama, places second at 33.4 percent ($2.5 million).
The others include Charles Shumer (D-N.Y.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).
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