Will They Stand With the Banks or Consumers?

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On Tuesday, the Senate Banking committee will hold a nomination hearing for Richard Cordray, the man selected by President Obama to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the committee, said Cordray’s nomination was “dead on arrival” unless concessions were made to weaken the agency’s ability to hold Wall Street banks accountable.

Sen. Shelby has received significant support from Wall Street donors during his time in Congress.

  • A day after Sen. Shelby published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about his opposition to Cordray, the Alabama Senator’s political action committee (PAC), Defend America, received a $5,000 donation from the Goldman Sachs PAC and $1,500 from the PAC for MFS, a Boston-based investment firm.  
  • He has received over $6.2 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector during his time in Congress, including nearly $1.1 million from commercial banks, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
  • Sen. Shelby’s top 20 career donors include Wall Street giants like JPMorgan Chase ($140,771), Citigroup ($109,199), PriceWaterhouseCoopers ($76,700), and Goldman Sachs ($67,600).

In May, every Republican member of the committee signed a letter to President Obama stating that they would oppose any nominee without changes to the CFPB. They have also co-sponsored Sen. Shelby’s legislation, “The Dodd-Frank Repeal Act of 2011,” that would do exactly what the title says: repeal the financial reform legislation passed by the previous Congress.

In total, these 10 members have received over $31 million in campaign cash from the FIRE sector during their time in Congress. They have received $3.6 million from banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citigroup.

When questioning Cordray on Tuesday, will these members be thinking about their constituents or their campaign bank accounts? We’ll be watching.