BACKGROUND MEMO: Will Wall Street Money Sway CFPB Nomination Votes?

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Thursday on the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation passed by Congress in 2010.

Wall Street and its deep pockets fought the creation of the bureau, and its lobbyists have continued the industry’s efforts to undermine it. When the question is called Thursday, will Senators be voting for the consumers or their Wall Street donors that wrecked our economy?

Key Facts:

  • Through the first three quarters of 2011, the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector has given $17.7 million to members of the U.S. Senate. Financial interests make up the top giving sector to federal candidates so far this cycle, according to Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
  • The commercial banking industry has donated nearly $1.8 million to Senators so far this year, and securities and investment industry donors have handed over $5.8 million.
  • The 44 Senate Republicans who signed a letter in May pledging to filibuster any CFPB nominee (plus Sen. Dean Heller who later added his name once appointed to the Senate) have received over $6.5 million from the financial industry in 2011 and nearly $125.6 million over their careers.
  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Senate Banking committee (and lead signer of the letter), has received at least $81,850 in 2011 and $6.2 million from the FIRE sector throughout his career.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said in June the more that can be done to slow down implementation of Dodd-Frank regulations “the better America will be,” has received at least $617,715 from financial interests this year and $6.4 million over his career. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has received at least $82,334 this year from the sector and $5.6 million over his career.
  • Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and John Thune (R-S.D.) both have fundraisers in New York City this weekend, according to invitations obtained by the Sunlight Foundation’s PoliticalPartyTime website. Will Wall Street donors be in attendance?

Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate Industry Contributions (U.S. Senate)
(PCAF analysis of data from Center for Responsive Politics)

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Public Campaign Action Fund works to hold elected officials accountable for the favors they do for special interest donors and fights to pass comprehensive change in the way elections are financed. Learn more at www.campaignmoney.org.