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Washington's Wall Street Sugar Daddies.

luvguins 2012/08/18 13:01:12
Yes, Our Government has been bought off.
Time has come to protest and clean out the takers.
Undecided
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Written by Hillary Lehr


How much is democracy worth to you?


If you’re like most people, it’s priceless. But for the hedge funds and insurance companies on Wall Street, it does have a price tag. And now, thanks to a new report by Global Exchange, we know the number on it: approximately $4.2 billion. That’s how much the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (F.I.R.E.) sector has invested in political influence through campaign contributions and lobbying since 2006. That comes to $1,331 a minute spent on political power.


The new report is called “Meet the F.I.R.E. Sector: How Wall Street Is Burning Democracy.” It was developed by Elect Democracy, a nonpartisan effort by Global Exchange to expose and challenge the impact of corporate money in U.S. politics. The report contains extensive research tracking Wall Street’s investment in political power, and analyzes exactly how Wall Street has secured what Global Exchange calls “industry-loyal voting practices” in Congress: by shoveling stacks of campaign cash in the direction of Congressional hopefuls from both major political parties.


That money lets these industries get what they want in Washington. The F.I.R.E. sector contributed $879 million to members of Congress since 2006, and took positions on 383 bills during the 112th Congress. For instance, they supported Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Panama, and Colombia in 2007, and backed the bailout in 2008. Bills they opposed include the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, the Limited Homeowner and Investor Loss in Foreclosure Act of 2010, and the Stop Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2011.


At every turn, the F.I.R.E. sector demands special treatment for Wall Street while consumers, homeowners, and students get stuck with the bills. As Senator Bernie Sanders put it an interview with MSNBC this May, “Wall Street is extraordinarily powerful. Congress doesn’t regulate them. The big banks regulate what Congress does.”


That’s no exaggeration. The Wall Street banks that received the lion’s share of the $700 billion bailout in 2008 comprise the most vocal and deep-pocketed opposition to regulation of risky financial practices.


Follow the Money


Luckily, the F.I.R.E sector does have a weakness. It only works in the dark. When people know that their representatives are only supporting Wall Street causes because they’ve been bought off, they tend to stop wanting to vote for those representatives.


Elect Democracy has used the report to develop a new legislative scorecard that makes it easy for you to trace how your legislators voted on key issues such as the bank bailout, Wall Street reform, and free trade agreements. Not only that, but you can see for yourself how much money they received in campaign contributions from the F.I.R.E. sector, as well as what we call their “industry loyalty voting rate.”


Global Exchange researchers calculated that rate for each Congressperson by comparing how often their votes matched the F.I.R.E. sector’s lobbying position on the seven bills examined in the scorecard. As it turns out, the representatives who received the 25 biggest campaign contributions from the F.I.R.E. sector voted identically to Wall Street’s lobby position 73 percent of the time, while the average House “loyalty rate” was a mere 56 percent.


Many complex factors affect how legislators vote, but corporate sponsorship shouldn’t be one of them. Even on Wall Street’s gilded beltway, the F.I.R.E sector companies can’t literally buy political representation—at least, not yet. Instead, they use money to buy influence over voters to elect certain legislators, who they then use lobbyists to influence.


Most Americans value democracy and despise corruption, so a spotlight on this process could leave the F.I.R.E. sugar daddies powerless. The more toxic bank money candidates accept, the more vulnerable they are to having the source of their money exposed.


The goals of this project are not to tell anyone who to vote for, but to get everyone to follow the money; not to influence the outcome of any one election, but to spark dialogue about accountability and transparency, and to stop Wall Street from burning our priceless democracy; to together expose how Wall Street’s campaign money is toxic for democracy, and amplify the message that our democracy is not for sale.


This post was originally published by Yes! Magazine.



Read who the takers are: http://www.globalexchange.org/sites/default/files/ED_Legislat...

Read More: http://www.care2.com/causes/washingtons-wall-stree...

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Top Opinion

  • Tea in the Harbor 2012/08/18 15:36:18
    Yes, Our Government has been bought off.
    Tea in the Harbor
    +5
    Politicians should have to wear suits like NASCAR drivers do, with their sponsor's names plastered across them so we know whose property they are. nascar driver

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  • Going Terrier 2012/08/20 09:55:37
    Time has come to protest and clean out the takers.
    Going Terrier
    +1
    What is needed is 4 more years at the very least of progressive policies coming out of Washington. To do this, we all must make noise about all the conservative dead wood that is blocking the needed progress and vote!
  • Dave 2012/08/19 05:22:25
    Yes, Our Government has been bought off.
    Dave
    +2
    Not much of a surprise to me - though it was a good posting. Doesn't matter if it's Democrats or Republicons - they are both bad news. The ony thing is there are a few good Democrats and Independants out there. A few.
  • Link 2012/08/18 23:09:19
    Undecided
    Link
    +1
    We need to clean up the process... make sure all money-making opportunities are legal... and stop Gov't kickbacks and all... but, Wall Street money-making in and of itself is NOT evil...

    Let me ask you:

    If each and every one of you had the capital to go to Wall Street and make your money exponentially increase, how many of you really can honestly say that you wouldn't? I probably would!

    Now, again, I do think the system needs to be cleaned up and made to be more legal... Yes!
  • EdVenture 2012/08/18 22:48:05 (edited)
    Time has come to protest and clean out the takers.
    EdVenture
    +2
    This article should make it apparent why citizens united was passes and prove that the corruption is even embedded in the supreme court, (Alito). Get them out, boycott the businesses and reform are the answer. Thanks for sharing. Support Obama.
  • A Founding Father 2012/08/18 19:12:05
    Time has come to protest and clean out the takers.
    A Founding Father
    +2
    Good post. I've known this for many years, having been somewhat involved in the "industry" for decades. Now, these corporate interests and banks are "persons",
    giving legal status to them as they become "voters" and use their influence over Federal
    and State agencies. Who can object or raise issues when other "persons" spread their "opinions". The revolution is nearly complete, the "Top 2% Club" members have replaced "We the people" as controllers of our fate and Government. If we elect their
    avowed candidates in November, nothing short of a violent overthrow of the Govy by the
    "masses" will ever remove these interests from their position.

    Good news can be found in history. Recall the revolutions in Spain, Germany, England,
    Russia, France, Iran, and a hundred other countries when the oppressed masses eventually took back their "rights" from the pillagers and plundrers, sometimes with notable
    violence.
  • NOT14U2 2012/08/18 18:35:18
    Yes, Our Government has been bought off.
    NOT14U2
    +2
    Using tarp money from our children's pockets
  • Matt 2012/08/18 18:22:58
    Yes, Our Government has been bought off.
    Matt
    +1
    The largest recipients of federal dollars are also the largest political contributors. Once money leaves our shores, there is no accounting for it. Who knows how many of these dollars are coming back under the table or in foreign accounts. Does anybody else see a possible conflict of interest here ?

    Obama puppet
  • jackolantyrn356 2012/08/18 17:55:56
    Yes, Our Government has been bought off.
    jackolantyrn356
    And all of that "Buy Off:" has bernm from DEMOCRAT'S money (Could that be American Tax Money???)
  • luvguins jackola... 2012/08/18 18:10:38
    luvguins
    +4
    So the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, Sheldon Adelson, and Wall St. are all Democrats? Go take your meds jacko.
  • Lady Wh... luvguins 2012/08/18 20:18:50
    Lady Whitewolf
    +2
    Agreed!
  • jeepster4 2012/08/18 17:28:44
    Yes, Our Government has been bought off.
    jeepster4
    +1
    We currently have the best government money can buy.
  • JCD aka "biz" 2012/08/18 16:35:24
    Time has come to protest and clean out the takers.
    JCD aka "biz"
    +4
    "The big banks regulate what Congress does", Bernie Sanders is right, as usual.
  • C. C. Rider 2012/08/18 16:32:18 (edited)
  • Atmara 2012/08/18 16:30:36
    Time has come to protest and clean out the takers.
    Atmara
    +3
    Dont follow the money, stop it! I'm sick of this corruption.
  • luvguins Atmara 2012/08/18 16:38:14
    luvguins
    +2
    Republicans want to return to the Gilded Age of robber barons. Why these corrupt capitalists are trying to buy the election for them.
  • ray luvguins 2012/08/18 18:32:01
    ray
    +1
    Who's paying for the $40,000 a plate pork chop dinners ?
    Sure ain't mothers on food stamps
    Arabs ? Wall street ? Big Banks? George Soros ?
    Who is giving all the hundreds of Millions to Obama ?
    Who owns him and pulls the string? Bought and paid for.
    Obama marionet
  • Defendn... ray 2012/08/18 19:34:23 (edited)
    DefendnProtect
    +1
    First and foremost the debt Money Mafia of Wall Street,

    Obama dances to the tune of Goldman Suks..


    Hence bailouts for banksters, propping up Too Big Too Jail, and implementing Obomneycare $600 billion mandated handout to insurance companies,

    Green campaign bribers like Solyndra, other campaign bribers like failed car makers, and letting GE campaign briber pay zero tax.

    Don´t underestimate the scheming warmongering and war profiteering Israel and MIC lobby. Also Chicago mafia and other money swindlers like Jon Corzine (Goldman Suks, MF Global)

    Obama swindlers
    ´Wars are the bankers harvests´.

    obama puppet
    Do not vote for a bankster puppet again. Check out the Green Party or the Libertarian party.
  • Tea in the Harbor 2012/08/18 15:36:18
    Yes, Our Government has been bought off.
    Tea in the Harbor
    +5
    Politicians should have to wear suits like NASCAR drivers do, with their sponsor's names plastered across them so we know whose property they are. nascar driver
  • luvguins Tea in ... 2012/08/18 16:19:41
  • C. C. R... luvguins 2012/08/18 16:24:58
    C. C. Rider
    +3
    LMAO PERFECT!! and snagged.
  • luvguins C. C. R... 2012/08/18 16:35:54
    luvguins
    +3
    You are welcome to it, CCR.
  • Lady Wh... C. C. R... 2012/08/18 20:21:41
    Lady Whitewolf
    +3
    I like this one.... does this say it
  • C. C. R... Lady Wh... 2012/08/18 23:20:08
    C. C. Rider
    +2
    LOL NOW that is him all the way
  • Lady Wh... C. C. R... 2012/08/19 09:57:42
    Lady Whitewolf
    +2
    **giggle**
  • C. C. R... Lady Wh... 2012/08/19 14:18:33
  • Lady Wh... luvguins 2012/08/18 20:19:51
    Lady Whitewolf
    +3
    GOOD ONE!
  • NOT14U2 Tea in ... 2012/08/18 18:37:40
    NOT14U2
    +3
    good one
  • Keeping It Real 2012/08/18 14:55:17 (edited)
    Undecided
    Keeping It Real
    +3
    I think many people that's apart of the government are vested in their own personal interest, etc.. I'm not going to blast or demonize the government, because it does a lot of good, regardless and especially from the Republiconteabaggers rhetoric lying charges on a regular basis about it. The right wingers in this country has done a good job demonizing the very entity that they continue technically work for.
  • Rebel Yell 2012/08/18 14:50:30
    Yes, Our Government has been bought off.
    Rebel Yell
    +4
    200 lobbyists snaking around Capitol Hill in Carter's days. Around 2000 today, most from the health care industry and the NRA. Boehner bragged that he knows around 150 lobbyists. Boehner also has membership in some of the world's most exclusive golf clubs. Easy to connect the dots. It's not just Boeher... politcians in both parties cannot say NO to big money.

    Almost everywhere Romney goes, Adelson is not far behind. He was with him in Israel, seated on the front row of the fund raisier. What has Romney promised the billionaire?
  • luvguins Rebel Yell 2012/08/18 15:21:50
    luvguins
    +4
    Plenty of Pentagon lobbyists too pimping for the military/industrial complex to Republicans, and why Romney/Ryan want to gut everything but more for the DOD. More waste and bloat there than the rest of government combined.
  • Rebel Yell luvguins 2012/08/18 15:31:54
    Rebel Yell
    +4
    For what the Pentagon pisses away year, every American could have Cadillac health insurance.
  • luvguins Rebel Yell 2012/08/18 19:38:47
    luvguins
    +3
    Exactly, plus plenty of teachers, firefighters, and police.
  • Lady Wh... Rebel Yell 2012/08/18 20:20:32
    Lady Whitewolf
    +2
    YA THINK?
  • Defendn... Rebel Yell 2012/08/18 18:27:35
    DefendnProtect
    +2
    Perhaps bankrupting and murderous WW3 (war with Iran and Syria).

    Perhaps he´s also sponsored by the Saudi dictator
    saudi dictator bush

    Romney is Obama is Bush is Clinton is Bush is run by the Money Mafia.
  • Cthulhu 2012/08/18 14:19:13 (edited)
  • Defendn... Cthulhu 2012/08/18 14:33:17
    DefendnProtect
    +2
    We got to get more people aware how the debt money cartel works..

  • Cthulhu Defendn... 2012/08/18 14:42:28 (edited)
    Cthulhu
    +5
    Awareness means almost nothing in a society that is drenched with trivial Internet information every day.

    When you boil it all down, what you get is this ....
    ... not only did they screw the economy, but they told everyone how they did it and still got away with it.

    We need solid action that all sides can act on without the guilt of betraying their so called political ideology.
  • Defendn... Cthulhu 2012/08/18 17:09:30
    DefendnProtect
    +1
    People can become active in these crony repdem platforms to reform it. Also supporting a third party is quite simple, still only the liberty campaign has made a serious inroad into the GOP.



    If people are not willing to stand up for their own rights, these rights will be taken away by the power elites.
  • Cthulhu Defendn... 2012/08/18 17:42:50
    Cthulhu
    +1
    I have absolute faith that well meaning people, spouting all kinds of very logical and well thought out sounding BS, will finish the job the elites have started without a 2nd thought in their collective heads.

    That is what the world has come to.
  • Defendn... Cthulhu 2012/08/18 18:24:17
    DefendnProtect
    I got trust we can get the banksters in jail. It will be tough and we need people to actively work for it, but we did it before.

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