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Wall Street not giving to Dems: good riddance

Wall Street donations to the two Democratic congressional campaign committees are down 65 percent from two years ago, The Post reports. Party insiders say “the overwhelming factor is the rising anger among financial executives who think they have not been treated well based on their support of Democrats over the past four years.”

The National Journal writes that Wall Streeters are “sick of being used as political punching bags.”

And Post columnist Steven Pearlstein suggests that “bad blood” between big business and the Obama administration is “not a good thing.”

Given the reckless corporate behavior that led to the collapse of the economy and the consequent need for a new financial regulatory regime, I hardly think soothing the hurt feelings of bankers, hedge funders and corporate CEOs should be a priority.

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon doled out $65,000 in contributions to the Dems in 2006 and 2008 and nothing this cycle. Good riddance. The same goes for Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who’s given zilch to Dems after showering candidates with $50,000 in the previous two election cycles.

Rather than greasing the skids so Blankfein et al. resume their big-buck donations, isn’t it time legislators focus on diminishing the strings-attached purchasing power of corporate campaign contributions?

That’s exactly what the Fair Elections Now Act would do by severing the ties between big-money contributors and members of Congress. The bill has 22 cosponsors in the Senate (not a single Republican), and 157 bipartisan cosponsors in the House. It would bar participating congressional candidates from accepting contributions larger than $100 and allow them to run honest campaigns with a blend of small donations and public matching funds. Only candidates demonstrating their viability through meeting a minimum threshold of signatures and small donations would be eligible.

A coalition is now pressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep her pledge to vote on Fair Elections this year. She should.

By Katrina vanden Heuvel  | July 8, 2010; 2:18 PM ET
Categories:  vanden Heuvel  | Tags:  Katrina vanden Heuvel  
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Next: Obama's cynical recess appointment of Donald Berwick


Good riddance, yes. Support of the so-called Fair Elections Act? No way Jose.

This Act would just protect incumbents. What a mysterious shock that Democrats love it with minimal Republican support. Keep on trying America. Not a chance.

Posted by: slatt321 | July 8, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Public funding of elections is just another tool to limit speech and limit viability of alternative candidates. The Fair Elections Now Act is anything but fair. Only those meeting with the approval of the ruling two parties will ever get the funds.

Posted by: BradG | July 8, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Ri-i-i-ight, it was "reckless corporate behavior" that's entirely to blame for America's economic problems ... whereas we should never blame the behavior of politicians such as Barney Frank, who claimed as late as July 2008 that Fannie and Freddie were just fine.

Honestly, Katrina, don't you ever get tired of volunteering as an Obama/progressive ventriloquist's dummy?

Posted by: UponFurtherReview | July 8, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

The Fair Elections Act is just a start. People forget that the airwaves belong to US, the People. Media companies are only licensed by the FCC to use our airwaves. Why not make it a condition of license renewal that a certain amount of free air-time be given to qualified (and that needs definition) political candidates? That would remove a lot of the need to find private contributions. How silly is it that candidates spend so much time and compromise so many of their principles in order to get the money to use OUR AIRWAVES?

Media companies do not have to renew their licenses - that would be their choice - but why we let them participate in the auctioning off of our highest political offices, I don't understand.

Posted by: glenerian | July 9, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Of course contributions from Wall Street are down. They've gotten what they wanted: their share of the spoils in the grandest larceny of all time.

Carl Peter Klapper

Posted by: cpklapper | July 9, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

I say good riddance as well. If the Democrats were smart they would use this predictable rebuff to their political advantage. I love the candidate that does not take special interest money, and wall street is about as special interest as it gets. In fact...I would be campaigning on the platform that...Look at me...I dont take wall street money!

Posted by: ruthella10 | July 9, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

UponFurtherReview; Barney Frank could only make his conclusions from information provided by the Bush Appointees who hid the FACTS until after the crash.

You made a nice try though!

Posted by: ddoiron1 | July 9, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Wall Street is merely the latest group that is crying..........NoBama No more!

America is dying before our eyes.

It must stop.

Posted by: battleground51 | July 9, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

When I heard that big business and wall street was throwing their support to the republicans, my first thought was...and that's a bad thing.

The actions of the republicans since the inauguration of Pres. Obama has clearly shown that the gop stands for wall street, the banking industry, the health insurance industry and big oil - not the best interests of the American people. This just gives dems the factual data to back it all all. This can be used come election time to continue to sway those that don't relish a corporate run USA.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | July 9, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Ri-i-i-ight, it was "reckless corporate behavior" that's entirely to blame for America's economic problems ... whereas we should never blame the behavior of politicians such as Barney Frank, who claimed as late as July 2008 that Fannie and Freddie were just fine.

Honestly, Katrina, don't you ever get tired of volunteering as an Obama/progressive ventriloquist's dummy?

Posted by: UponFurtherReview |
Uh, your propaganda and right wing talking points just don't stand up to facts recently revealed.

"More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic."

"By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent. "

I seriously doubt that those millionares were Fannie/Freddie clients. Time to update your nonsensical talking points, the facts just don't support you.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | July 9, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

If the Financial reform Act was so unfair to the banks, why did their stocks climb 3% to 4% each time the bill passed the House and the Senate, while most other stocks went down between 2% and 8%?

The public rarely knows what is really in the details of a bill and who benefits by the insertion of a single provision at the last minute. My guess is that the Reform Act was not all that bad to banks, and they are doing Obama a favor by reducing contributions so the Dems can paint the Reps for what they are, corporate servants. But by default, the Dems are corporate servants also.

Posted by: thecontributist | July 9, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The Fair Elections Act Now is a neccessary rebuke to an Activist Supreme Court that has essentially made "Free Speech" well, not free. The net effect of the Citizens Coalition ruling, for which the Fair Elections Act is designed to counter, is to deny free speech rights from the millions of Americans that cannot afford to pay the money to excersize free speech. Essentially it was a transference of free speech rights to the wealthy and corporations and by default unions.

Money does not and cannot equal free speech. By doing so, those with more money are automatically granted more free speech which is counter to the Constitutional principles of "fair and equal representation for all", "one man, one vote" and "national sovereignty". But of course, the only time that Republicans care about the Constitution is when they can claim someone else is trying to change it.

The Activist Conservative Supreme Court granted greatr powers of free speech to corporations then they did to citizens, even when corporations are never mentioned in the Constitution. Now Chevron, or BP or any China Government owned company can excersize greater free speech then an American citizen. This rips the concept of national sovereignty right out of the Constitution.

This must be fixed, as the Republicans have undermined the very core of our national sovereignty, and stil have the gall to call themselves Patriots. They also claim that this helps incumbents and hurts challengers. Not so, it evens the playing field. That way an incumbent who has been threatened by a corporation that "if you do not do what we want we will put unlimited funds against your re-election" to rest. It becomes about the people, not the corporations.

The costs of distribution of speech can and is borne by the costs of the media outlets. Any candidate, corporate CEO or individual can get their message out on CNN, Fox, USA Today, NBC, CBS, ABC, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, U-Tube, ect, without spending a dime. If they chose to run specific commercials, or hold a rally, then by all means do so. They do not have to in order to excersize free speech, these are voluntary choices to either expand their message or reinforce their message. And they can eaily cover the costs by using public funding or limited contributions of $100 from as many people as they can convince their message needs to be heard in wider format.

The last failed argument of the "anti-free speechers" is they do not want to fund a specific candidate through their tax dollars. Well welcome to America, we all have to fund wars, politicians salaries, government programs and supreme court justices that we do not see worthy. But we all have to do so as part of our democracy. It is not a selective choice, nor is it a specific allocation.

Posted by: thecontributist | July 9, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I like how everyone wants to hate on Wall Street, without a name specifically to hate on. Name a fat cat. If they're a crook, why aren't they in jail? Anyone who makes money on wall street is evil then. What about 401k holders? Are they evil? Who pays the taxes in this country? The rich. The poor pay NOTHING. The lower middle class pay almost nothing (to the federal government). The rich are who pay the taxes in this country, and many don't complain that they do. They only want a little acknowledgement that they are the ones who pay for the services people receive. Without the rich, the only people to tax are the poor. Somebody has to pay.

Posted by: kroverstreet | July 9, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

How about allowing political candidates to receive political contributions only from their actual constituents; that is constituents that can actually vote for them. I don't see how that could be voided by the Supreme Court. Why should some entity that has nothing to do with my congressional district, be allowed to influence who represents my district in Congress?

Posted by: risejugger | July 9, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The largest campaign contributors by far are unions which donate almost exclusively to Democrats. Ms. Heuvel "conveniently" forgets to mention that the "Fair Elections Now Act" exempts unions from this proposed law.

So Ms. Heuvel, it's fair that a corporation can only donate $100.00 to a candidate but unions can donate tens of millions of dollars? The unions already spent 10 million dollars on a single candidate to try and defeat Blanche Lincoln!
I would agree with you 100% on the Fair Elections Now Act if had no special interest exemptions, like unions.

If this law passes, unions would basically be able to buy almost any election they wanted.

Posted by: BigKahuna1 | July 9, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse


Less than 15% of the workforce is represented by the big bad Unions, the Democratic base.

100% of the crooks are represented by Republicans. While this may be 99% 'innocents', the fact is, nobody is out of business for malfeasance or beating up on "illegals".

I belong to the Sophie Tucker Wing of the Unrepresented Party. The not 15%(D) or 1%(R). We are not Anti-Business, and certainly not Anti-Labor. We work because, as Sophie says, "I've been rich and I've been poor; Believe me, honey, rich is better.". Like duh ? Some of us are even Mexicans, and not nearly as fond of (D) or (R) slavers as you think. We are not Anarchists, Socialists, Communists, Liberals, or Conservatives - they have People they can reach in Washington.

We have no People to reach, (D) or (R). We stay alive and happy by having skins as thick as Bomb Throwing Comedians and avoiding exploitative a--holes.

Posted by: gannon_dick | July 9, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The Fair Elections Now Act is just another liberal knee-jerk reaction to solve all the problems of the country by passing complicated laws. Every such law passed reduces our freedoms by inserting another layer of red tape and bureaucratic incompetence. These laws cost money and lend themselves to corruption on top of corruption. We need fewer complex laws, and more simple laws . . . ones that get the government out of the way. One example is Term Limits for representatives and senators. Another might be a limit on how much a candidate can spend on any one campaign. Use KISS rules . . . keep it simple, stupid!

Posted by: SFauthor | July 9, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

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