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All Da King's Men

The Politics Of TARP Funds

By Da King Published: March 24, 2009

corruption

Congress gets very upset when TARP bailout money goes to corporate employee bonuses, corporate jet rides, and corporate golf tournaments.

What Congress doesn't get so very upset about is when TARP bailout money goes to Congress, in the form of campaign contributions.

In recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, the political action committee for Bank of America (which got $15 billion in bailout money) sent out $24,500 in the first two months of 2009, including $1,500 to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and another $15,000 to members of the House and Senate banking panels. Citigroup ($25 billion) dished out $29,620, including $2,500 to House GOPWhip Eric Cantor, who also got $10,000 from UBS which, while not a TARP recipient, got $5 billion in bailout funds as an AIG "counterparty." "This certainly appears to be a case of TARP funds being recycled into campaign contributions," says Brett Kappell, a D.C. lawyer who tracks donations. (A spokesman for Cantor did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Hoyer said it's his "policy to accept legal contributions.")

In addition, TARP fund recipients paid $114 million in political contributions and lobbying efforts in 2008.

Some of the top recipients of contributions from companies receiving TARP money are the same members of Congress who chair committees charged with regulating the financial sector and overseeing the effectiveness of this unprecedented government program. They include Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs (he received $854,200 from the companies in the 2008 election cycle, including money to his presidential campaign) and Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, chair of the Senate Finance Committee (he received $279,000). In total, members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Senate Finance Committee and House Financial Services Committee received $5.2 million from TARP recipients in the 2007-2008 election cycle. President Obama collected at least $4.3 million from employees at these companies for his presidential campaign.

The companies making the biggest political donations just so happened to be the same companies that received the largest TARP bailouts. What a coincidence.

The companies giving the most to fund lawmakers' campaigns and spending the most on lobbying efforts were also those that received the most TARP money to help them stay afloat. This includes General Motors, which spent $15 million between campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures and got $10.4 billion (more than all other companies), Bank of America (and the investment company it bought last year, Merrill Lynch), which spent $14.5 million to play politics and received $45 billion from the bailout bill; and American International Group (AIG), which spent $10.6 million and was paid out $40 billion. Citigroup was also one of the largest spenders to see a big result: between lobbying expenditures and campaign contributions, the company spent $12.5 million and got $50 billion.

For a complete list of TARP recipients that spent money on campaign contributions and lobbying, see the above link.

While I'm sure all our congressional members have the very highest ethical standards (LOL. Sometimes I crack myself up), this information makes it look like taxpayer dollars were for sale to the highest bidder.

Just like always.

Maybe the campaign contributions made these companies too big to fail.

FYI - Bank of America, receiver of $45 billion in TARP funds, MADE A PROFIT in 2008. So did Goldman Sachs. So did Morgan Stanley. Hmmm. Citigroup lost a lot of money in 2008, but over the last five years, has made a five year net profit of about $39 billion. All these companies made a bundle if you look back beyond the fourth quarter of 2008. They all made HUGE profits for years prior.

Get the picture ? These companies are not only to big to fail, they're too big to suffer even a one quarter loss before the government takes money from us peons to prop up the earnings statements of the big boys.

THEY are too big for the government to let fail. WE are too small for the government to give a damn about.

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