In House’s Final Bailout Vote, Money from Finance Sector Sided with Bill’s Supporters


House members voting for the bailout Friday have collected 41 percent more than opponents from the industries most eager for emergency aid.  Senate vote was similarly divided.

WASHINGTON (Oct. 3, 2008) — Members of the House of Representatives who voted Friday afternoon in favor of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 had received 41 percent more money from the financial sector over their congressional careers than those who opposed the legislation, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has found.  In Wednesday’s Senate vote and in the House vote Monday that defeated an earlier version of the bailout proposal, campaign contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate correlated similarly to lawmakers’ votes.

What They Got and How They Voted

Overall, the 263 House members who supported the bailout Friday have received an average of $833,077 since 1989 from the industries that were most eager to see the rescue bill passed.  The 171 opponents have collected $589,417, on average.  In the 2007-2008 election cycle alone, the finance sector has contributed at least $182,532 to congressman voting “yea” and $138,040 to those who voted “nay,” a difference of 32 percent.

What They Got and How They Voted, by Party

An earlier version of the bailout bill did not pass Monday in the House, where those who supported it had collected 51 percent more from the financial sector than those who defeated the package, according to CRP’s analysis.   In the Senate on Wednesday, where a “sweetened” version passed easily, senators who supported the bailout received an average of $3,986,723 from the finance sector since 1989 — 139 percent more than their opponents, who had received $1,671,029, on average.  Even excluding the millions of dollars that senators running for president in 2008 have collected from political action committees and individuals associated with the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, money from the sector was soundly on the side of the bill’s supporters.

“The finance sector’s closest friends in Congress are the ones who’ve been supporting this legislation,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics.  “The lobbying effort on the bailout has been brief but intense.  To make up for time they do not have, interest groups have undoubtedly capitalized on relationships they’ve built over many years.  And in Congress, campaign contributions are an essential tool for building relationships.”

Election after election, the finance, insurance, and real estate sector has been the top campaign contributor in federal politics, giving more than $2 billion to federal candidates and political parties since 1989.  In this election alone, when the sector’s money to Congress has favored Democrats, members of the House and Senate have received more than $180 million from PACs and individuals associated with finance, insurance, and real estate — the industries with the most at stake in the ongoing legislative debate.

The two major presidential candidates have benefited from the sector’s largesse; Obama has collected about $25 million in the 2008 cycle, while McCain has collected $22 million.  Both voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act this week.

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Click on this link to view an Excel table tallying contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate sector to every House member who voted on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, for the 2008 cycle and back to 1989: HouseVote2andMoney.xls.  The dollar figures correlated with the Oct. 3 House vote are based on data downloaded Sept. 29 from the Federal Election Commission.  CRP’s report on the House’s Sept. 29 vote was based on data downloaded Sept. 2, so figures may differ.

This article was published by the Center for Responsive Politics on 3 October 2008.

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