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Senators Opposing Breaking Up The Banks Get Way More Money From Financial Industry

Senators Opposing Breaking up the Banks Get Way More Money from Financial Industry
By Donny Shaw | A New Way Forward Blog

We’re conducting a whip count on the SAFE Banking Act amendment to the financial reform bill right now, which would force a handful of the biggest banks to shrink themselves down over a period of three years to about the size they were in 2003. Obviously, the big banks are dead set against this amendment. Their lobbyists are currently working the Hill to fight it.

As the day wound down on Wednesday afternoon and Senate offices began to close, the whip count paused for the day with 11 senators in the supportive column and 11 senators in the opposing column. So I began thinking, how does support for breaking up the banks a la the SAFE Banking Act correspond with campaign contributions from the finance industry Pulling from lifetime campaign contribution data provided by, I discovered that senators opposing the big-bank opposed SAFE Banking Act have received nearly twice as much money from the financial sector.

  • Total lifetime financial industry contributions to the 11 supporters: $13,174,331
  • Mean average lifetime contribution of the supporters: $1,197,666
  • Total lifetime financial industry contributions to the 11 opponents: $24,996,352
  • Mean average lifetime contribution of the opponents: $2,272,395

If that’s not clear, I don’t know what is. There’s no ambiguity here — Senators opposing the SAFE Banking Act are doing the bidding of the big banks that are funding their political campaigns.

UPDATE: In response to a request in the comments, here are the individual totals from OpenSecrets:


  • Kaufman $0
  • Sherrod Brown $1,620,430
  • Casey $1,355,841
  • Harkin $2,534,445
  • Merkley $721,157
  • Sanders $181,095
  • Whitehouse $1,222,607
  • Durbin $3,055,424
  • Burris $4,900
  • Dorgan $1,455,834
  • Franken $1,022,598


  • Conrad $2,507,437
  • Bill Nelson $3,213,078
  • Begich $412,637
  • Warner $2,632,766
  • Gregg $1,070,249
  • Grassley $2,605,399
  • Enzi $1,087,043
  • Sessions $2,158,535
  • Crapo $1,779,063
  • Ensign $2,589,370
  • Alexander $4,940,775

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