Talking Points Memo’s Brian Beutler described last week’s Senate Banking Committee hearing with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon this way:
“[W]ith some notable exceptions, the senators themselves turned the cross-examination into a coronation, and exposed the extent to which elected officials still feel compelled to genuflect to powerful financial interests.
Dimon will be back in town Tuesday, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.
Here are four reasons why Financial Services Committee Chair Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) might give him the same fawning treatment he received in the Senate.
- In December 2010, just after Republicans won the majority, Bachus told a local newspaper his job was to “serve the banks.”
- Bachus and his leadership PAC have received at least $91,508 from JPMorgan’s PAC over the past 10 years, according to data downloaded from the Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Explorer. So far this cycle, Bachus and his PAC have already received $15,000. Jamie Dimon himself donated $2,000 to Bachus in 2007 as have several other company executives.
- More than half of the money Bachus has raised this cycle has come from the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector—$1.2 million out of $2.2 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The executives and PACs of commercial banks alone have given him $251,400.
- Bachus has a history of talking a big game, but then acting against the interests of his constituents. When JPMorgan drove his Jefferson County district to bankruptcy, Bachus rightly complained to the SEC. Unfortunately, he has supported Congressional efforts to delay implementation of derivatives regulations that would stop this kind of thing from happening. Or, as Joe Nocera wrote in the New York Times, “You would think Bachus would want these regulations in place as quickly as possible, given the pain his constituents are suffering. Yet, last week, along with a handful of other House Republican bigwigs, he introduced legislation that would do just the opposite.”
In the 2010 election cycle, House Financial Services Committee members received over $21.5 million in campaign cash from the FIRE sector (finance, insurance, and real estate), not including donations to their leadership PACs or supportive spending by outside groups.
JPMorgan and the rest of the finance industry have deep pockets to reward—or punish—members of Congress for their votes. After Wall Street brought the economy to the brink of collapse in 2008, Bachus and his colleagues should use this hearing to seriously question Dimon and the policies he supports, not as a way to raise money from the same banks they’re supposed to be regulating.