Corporate Lobbyist waltzing with Wash. DC – Part II |

Corporate Lobbyist waltzing with Wash. DC – Part II

By Mitch Gurney

June 2009

A recent article published on Wednesday June 10 by Truthout perfectly aligns with my posting, An Infantry of Corporate Lobbyist waltzing with Wash. DC and seems to important not to highlight here.

The article, Study Follows the Money on Cram-down Vote discusses a new analysis just released by a “government watchdog group that shows senators who killed off a consumer-friendly change in law aimed at addressing the foreclosure crisis received more money in campaign contributions from the industries their vote aided.”

Per the article the amendment in question:

“…would have allowed bankruptcy judges to adjust or “cram down” the amount of money borrowers owed their lenders on their primary home in order to avoid foreclosure.”

“Consumer advocate groups who have long favored this reform pointed out that this type of mortgage adjustment is already available for vacation homes, yachts and almost every other type of loan.”

The article continues:

“Senators who voted against the consumer-friendly amendment received $3.98 million from the financial industry during the 2008 election cycle, while proponents of the bill received $2.65 million.”

“Banking and finance special interests fought hard against the provision, arguing that the ability to adjust these mortgages would make mortgage lending much more risky and expensive, increasing the difficulty of getting a loan in the first place, and increasing the cost to borrowers.”

The analysis was prepared by a citizen advocacy group Common Cause , which has become a voice for change in reforming the electoral and legislative lobbyist funding process, and this latest analysis reveals;

“…that the Republican and Democratic senators who voted against the amendment had received more money in campaign contributions from the banking industry than those who voted in favor of the amendment.”

In An Agenda for Real Change I wrote that;

“Without meaningful reform in electoral and lobbyist funding change is just a catchy but worthless jingle. By meaningful reform I’m referring to the removal of corporate, special interest, and lobbyist money from these processes entirely otherwise “business” will continue as usual.”

A statement by Common Cause President Bob Edgar featured in the article reinforces these goals;

“Until we change the way we pay for Congressional campaigns, average homeowners will be helpless when up against the power of the banking industry and its millions of dollars spent on campaign contributions and lobbying.”

I would add to Mr. Edgar’s comment that until we change Congressional campaigns and corporate lobbyist funding the average citizen will be helpless when up against the power of the corporate hold over Washington.

The Truthout article continues by pointing out that;

“The amendment was opposed by every Republican in the Senate except for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) who did not vote. According to the Common Cause analysis, these members received an average of $77,150 from mortgage bankers and brokers, commercial banks, and finance and credit companies during the 2008 election cycle.”

This latest article bolsters the case I’ve made on numerous occasions that both parties essentially want the same things because both are funded by the same corporate entities and consequentially in servitude and collusion in satisfying the same benefactors, as it points out;

“But these 39 Republicans needed Democratic help to kill the bill. And they got it.”

“The 12 Democratic senators who crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans were Max Baucus (Montana), Michael Bennet (Colorado), Robert Byrd (West Virginia), Thomas Carper (Delaware), Byron Dorgan (North Dakota), Tim Johnson (South Dakota), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania) and Jon Tester (Montana).”

“These Democrats received more money from the financial industry than their Republican counterparts did, averaging $81,256 during the 2008 election cycle.”

Corporate benefactors play Washington by hedging their bets with both parties and direct campaign moneys to those pockets that will potentially benefit them the most as is illustrated when stating;

“An opponent of the amendment, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), received $207,430 in 2008 from these financial industry sources. As the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus remains a key player in legislation targeted at the financial industry. As chairman, he holds sway over the consideration of bills aimed at reregulating the financial sector in the wake of the financial collapse. Senator Baucus has come under fire from progressive forces for his recent attempts to prevent consideration of a public health care plan.”

“The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Chris Dodd (D- Connecticut), topped the list, raking in $912,744. Senator Dodd defied the trend and voted for the provision despite the cash coming his way. Dodd faces a tough 2010 reelection fight in part because of his perceived ties with the financial industry.”

“Senate leadership received handsome gifts, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) receiving $208,650 and $343,700 respectively. Reid voted in favor of the amendment, while McConnell voted against it.”

I strongly recommend reading this latest article in its entirety. It is an important read and serves to perfectly illustrate the points I have made in numerous of my own commentaries and especially An Agenda for Real Change and An Infantry of Corporate Lobbyist waltzing with Wash DC.

Mitch Gurney

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