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New Financial Services Committee members raise money from finance sector

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Eight of the twelve new members chosen to take seats on the House Financial Services Committee can count the finance, insurance and real estate sector as the top contributor to their election.

Incoming Rep. Robert Dold is the top recipient of money from the finance, insurance and real estate sector among all freshmen elected in November's midterm elections. Dold, who raised $554,024 from the sector, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, is one of ten freshmen appointed to the committee overseeing the financial sector.

Another new member of the committee, Rep.-elect Steve Stivers, previously worked as a lobbyist for Bank One, which is now owned by JPMorgan Chase. Stivers received $294,105 from the finance sector.

In July 2010, Stivers came to Washington for a fundraiser thrown by financial lobbyists in Washington and hosted by incoming Financial Services Committee chairman Spencer Bachus. Bachus received nearly 63% of his 2010 campaign contributions from financial interests.  Bachus recently stated his philosophy for governing the committee, "In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks."

Bachus also hosted a fundraiser for incoming committee member Michael Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, who this year reclaimed the Philadelphia suburbs seat he lost in 2006, raised $122,250 from the finance sector.

Two freshmen from the nation's financial capital, New York, were appointed to the committee as well. Rep.-elect Michael Grimm, who won election from Staten Island, raised $222,350 from the finance sector. This amounted to 24 percent of the total money that he raised for his campaign, the largest percentage from the finance sector of all newly appointed members. Grimm defeated Democrat Michael McMahon, who also sat on the Financial Services Committee. Rep.-elect Nan Hayworth, hailing from upstate New York, raised $204,215 from the finance sector.

The Financial Services Committee has always been a coveted spot for lawmakers facing tough reelection races in expensive districts. These lawmakers are in need of large campaign contributions and the finance sector is the biggest contributing industry of all. Since 1998 the finance sector has contributed nearly $2 billion to federal election campaigns.

Most recently, the Democrats appointed eleven of their "frontline" freshmen lawmakers to the committee to help them raise money for reelection. According to the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim and Arthur Delaney the committee is "known as a "money committee" because joining it makes fundraising, especially from donors with financial interests litigated by the panel, significantly easier."

Nearly all of the freshmen appointed to the committee are likely to face tough reelection races in either 2012 or 2014.

Dold's North Shore district went heavily for Barack Obama in 2008. Fitzpatrick's district is a classic swing district won by Barack Obama and John Kerry in recent elections. Sean Duffy represents a Wisconsin district that was held by Democrat David Obey for 40 years and won by both John Kerry and Barack Obama. Quico Canseco won by a small margin in a Texas border district that narrowly went for Barack Obama in 2008. Robert Hurt barely won election over freshman Democrat Tom Perriello in a Virginia district that John McCain won by a couple of points in 2008. Stivers, Hayworth and Grimm could all face challenges in a different climate come 2012.

See below for all new members and the amount raised from the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector. All data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Lawmaker Total FIRE Total Raised FIRE rank as contributor
Robert Dold $554,024 $2,458,562 #1
Steve Stivers $294,105 $5,237,413 #1
Michael Grimm $222,350 $925,231 #1
Nan Hayworth $204,215 $1,762,048 #2
Steve Pearce $176,580 $2,235,263 #3
Blaine Luetkemeyer $170,735 $1,270,308 #1
Robert Hurt $127,200 $1,899,261 #3
Michael Fitzpatrick $122,250 $1,590,663 #1
Lynn Westmoreland $107,809 $703,253 #1
Fransisco Canseco $101,550 $1,227,610 #1
Sean Duffy $91,175 $1,620,447 #3
Bill Huizenga $68,250 $591,028 #1