Right in his own back yard. Jefferson County, Alabama filed for bankruptcy yesterday, making it the largest municipality ever to do so. What does this have to with money and politics? It just so happens to be the home county of Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee. He has been a fierce defender of Wall Street and opponent of all things financial regulation, including a provision in the Dodd-Frank law that could have prevented the bankruptcy from occuring in the first place.
From the Bloomberg story yesterday: "The threat of bankruptcy has loomed over the county for more than three years and inspired provisions in the federal Dodd-Frank law seeking to protect localities from complex financial trades involving derivatives."
Not only did Rep. Bachus vote "NO" on the Dodd-Frank financial regulation legislation in 2010, he also introduced legislation in January that would delay the very Dodd-Frank provision dealing with derivitives that led to the County's initial downfall. Bachus, of course, famously said: "We're here to serve the banks," and in doing so in his role as Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, he would make the scenario that has played out in his home county all the more likely in other municipalities all over the country.
Rep. Bachus' campaign account has been "served" by the banks for as long as he's been in Congress. In his career, Bachus has recieved $5,262,574 from the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, and Insurance (FIRE) sector (easily his largest contributor), according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, making him one of Congress' biggest benefactors of financial sector money.
So, while Bachus' constituents deal with their county going bankrupt, one thing is clear; as long as Bachus continues to work on behalf of his big money Wall Street donors, his campaign account will never go bankrupt. And his constituents will pay the price.