Wall Street and the Supercommittee: The $41 Million Question
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction measures. Whether these measures will reflect a balanced approach and rely on much needed revenue raisers is a subject of intense debate, and intense lobbying. The 12 members of Congress on this so-called “supercommittee” are facing intense, concentrated pressure from lobbyists and wealthy special interests representing major corporations and trade associations who are concerned about being asked to pay their fair share if the supercommittee closes corporate loopholes or fairly taxes top earners.
Like many others, Wall Street and the financial sector will have a major stake in the committee’s decisions. The sector has invested tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions to the 12 members of the supercommittee, as well as billions of dollars on lobbying over the past 11 years, according to a report from Public Campaign and National People’s Action.
- The 12 members of the supercommittee have received at least $41 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector1 during their time in Congress.
- They have received nearly $900,000 from three of the top American banks: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.
- Since 2000, the financial sector has spent over $4 billion lobbying elected officials.
- At least 27 current or former aides to supercommittee members have worked as lobbyists for financial sector interests.
Will supercommittee members do what it takes to raise the revenue necessary or bow to the strong influence of their Wall Street backers?
While Public Campaign does not take positions on specific revenues and cuts, it believes many policies do not receive a fair hearing in a political system dominated by special interest money, particularly campaign money from Wall Street CEOs, executives, and PACs.
National People's Action calls on supercommittee members to raise a portion of the revenue we desperately need from Wall Street. Wall Street’s actions drove the current recession and they need to pay to fix what they broke. In addition, over the last 30 years, the financial sector has grown exponentially and now comprises a much larger portion of our economy, yet the tax code does not reflect this reality, and the industry is now massively under-taxed.
Both organizations believe the unfair tax code is a direct result of a political system skewed to benefit those with the wherewithal to make large political donations and deploy armies of well-connected lobbyists.
1 Also referred to in this report as the “financial sector.”.