Consumers won a big victory over the banks and Wall Street last week when the House passed financial reform legislation that, among other things, created a new top cop to regulate all consumer financial products. But it was a close fight. The consumer regulator survived by a margin of just 15 votes.
That's thanks in no small part to the financial industry's spending on campaign contributions and lobbying to kill financial reform. The amounts of money continue to boggle the mind.
We put out a quick and dirty analysis last week of the financial sector money to House members who tried to weaken reform - $3.8 million this year alone.
And, according to the folks over at the Center for Responsive Politics, who
probably have more raw data on money in politics and the special
interests who spend it than any other group in Washington:
Members of the House who voted against the measure collected 70 percent more from commercial banks since 1989, on average, than those supported it. And they raised an average of 50 percent more from credit and finance companies than the bill's supporters.
Members who voted against the bill -- sponsored by House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and known as the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 4173)
-- received an average of about $133,200 from commercial banks since
1989, while lawmakers who voted for the bill collected an average of
Read their full analysis here.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in the House, not to mention the Senate, where the big banks and Wall Street have always expected to make their final stand against reform.
Congress has a choice to make - to stand with the banks, or real Americans. Our friends over at banksterusa.org told the story with the help of a Frank Capra classic. Will Congress stand with Mr. Potter or George Bailey?