Incoming finance committee chairman relies on finance campaign contributions


The House Republican Steering Committee voted on Tuesday to name all committee chairman for the incoming Congress. Their choice to head the House Financial Services Committee, the committee in charge of overseeing the financial sector and the government’s implementation of new financial reforms, happens to be the member of Congress most reliant on contributions from the financial sector.

Contributions to Rep. Spencer Bachus (2009-2010)Contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate sector accounted for 62.5 percent of all contributions received by Rep. Spencer Bachus, the incoming House Financial Services Committee chairman, during the 2010 election cycle. These contributions amounted to $1.23 million out of a total $1.97 million that Bachus’ campaign and political action committees raised.

No member of Congress comes close to Bachus’ reliance on finance campaign contributions during the 2010 cycle. Some members of the House Financial Services Committee raised more than 40 percent of their total contributions from finance, insurance and real estate contributors. Reps. Paul Kanjorski, Jeb Hensarling and Melissa Bean all raised more than 40 percent of their contributions from financial interests. The outgoing chairman of the committee, Rep. Barney Frank, raised only 32.8 percent of his contributions from financial contributors in the 2010 cycle.

The biggest financial industries who gave the most to Bachus’ 2010 campaign and political action committees were the insurance ($326,000), securities and investment ($237,200), real estate ($230,500), commercial bank ($153,300) and accounting ($116,300) industries.

Over the course of his career Bachus has raised 51.5 percent of his campaign and political action committee contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate sector. During the past twelve years Bachus has become increasingly reliant on the financial sector to fund his campaign and his political action committee. (See the graphic based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics below.)

A lot of that money has been recycled into Republican efforts to win seats in Congress. In 2010 Bachus’ campaign committee contributed $431,590 to the National Republican Campaign Committee, the party’s electoral arm.

Meanwhile, the Growth & Prosperity PAC, Bachus’ leadership political action committee, contributed $315,000 to Republican candidates for the House.

Bachus’ political action committee, Growth & Prosperity PAC, is even more dependent on financial sector contributions than his campaign committee. During the course of the Growth & Prosperity PAC’s existence it has raised 71 percent of its total contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate sector.

From 2004 through 2010 Bachus’ PAC contributed $1.7 million to Republican House candidates. Many of those recipients voted Bachus in as the next Financial Services Committee chairman.

Bachus hasn’t been shy about his attempt to bring in financial sector campaign cash, nor has he been shy about suggesting that those contributions will have an impact on his future actions. At an October meeting with over 100 financial industry lobbyists Bachus excoriated some in the industry for giving money to Democrats. According to Politico, Bachus is reported to have “asked for an equal chunk of their campaign cash — and made clear he was watching closely.”

A staunch foe of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, Bachus has begun to define provisions where he will aim his ire. Bachus told the Financial Times that he will go “page by page . . . to identify job-killing provisions or lending-killing provisions.”

One of those provisions identified by Bachus is one requiring that derivatives be traded on an open market. Bachus cited this provision as being one that would take “a trillion dollars out of our economy.” This data point comes from the talking points of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, the main lobby for the derivatives trading industry.

In a 2009 committee hearing Bachus attacked the provision creating a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stating, “this is absolutely the wrong time to be creating a new government agency empowered not only to ration credit, but to design the financial products offered to consumers.”

All numbers come from data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.