THE BLOG
07/06/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Those Opposed to Breaking Up the Banks Receive Double the Funds from Industry

The Brown-Kaufman SAFE Banking amendment has become the single most important amendment to the financial reform bill to end bailouts. It is the most transformative bill because it addresses the problem that too big to fail banks are too big to regulate properly and are able to capture votes in Congress like nobody's business. Our data crunching shows that Senators who are currently opposed to breaking up the banks receive twice as much in campaign contributions from the finance sector than those who are for "SAFE Banking".

It is going to be voted on by the Senate soon, possibly by the end of this week. We're making tons of progress -- MoveOn is on board, New York Times is supporting it, the Senate's #2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, is supportive -- and we have a real chance here to limit the size of the biggest banks so they don't distort our politics and put out economy at risk any longer.

We're conducting a whip count on the SAFE Banking Act amendment to the financial reform bill right now, which would force a handful of the biggest banks to shrink themselves down over a period of three years to about the size they were in 2003. Obviously, the big banks are dead set against this amendment. Their lobbyists are currently working the Hill to fight it.

This from Donny Shaw on the issue:

As the day wound down on Wednesday afternoon and Senate offices began to close, the whip count paused for the day with 11 senators in the supportive column and 11 senators in the opposing column. So I began thinking, how does support for breaking up the banks a la the SAFE Banking Act correspond with campaign contributions from the finance industry Pulling from lifetime campaign contribution data provided by OpenSecrets.org, I discovered that senators opposing the big-bank opposed SAFE Banking Act have received nearly twice as much money from the financial sector.

    Total lifetime financial industry contributions to the 11 supporters: $13,174,331
    Mean average lifetime contribution of the supporters: $1,197,666

    Total lifetime financial industry contributions to the 11 opponents: $24,996,352 Mean average lifetime contribution of the opponents: $2,272,395

If that's not clear, I don't know what is. There's no ambiguity here -- Senators opposing the SAFE Banking Act are doing the bidding of the big banks that are funding their political campaigns.

But we have an urgent problem we can all help to solve right now. We don't know where to focus our calls to Congress to secure the last few votes we need to get the amendment passed. We're totally outgunned here by the moneyed special interests that oppose fixing too big to fail, but we have the momentum and we are closer than ever to pulling it off.

Here's what we need to do.
  1. Go to this link and enter your zip code to get the phone numbers for your two senators.
  2. Make a quick call to each asking if they support the Brown-Kaufman SAFE Banking Act. Tell them they should.
  3. If they don't give you a straight answer, do a quick Google search (for example: "too big to fail" John Kerry) and see if you can find any public statements indicating where they stand on the issue.
  4. Record your findings in the comments section of this blog post and we'll update a running tally of what we know about where each senators stands.
We need at least one person from each state to do this. This is the single most important thing you can do right now to help the effort to break up the big banks. If you know anyone in another state who supports breaking up the banks please email this blog post to them so they can help out too. Thank You!! (UPDATE: We helped deliver 50,000 of the petitions for breaking up the banks featured in this picture and article and now Reid is a leaning yes!)

Supportive

Ted Kaufamn [D, DE]
Sherrod Brown [D, OH]
Bob Casey [D, PA]
Tom Harkin [D, IA]
Jeff Merkley [D, OR]
Bernie Sanders [I, VT]
Sheldon Whitehouse [D, RI]
Dick Durbin [D, IL]
Roland Burris [D, IL]
Byron Dorgan [D, ND]
Al Franken [D, MN]

Lean "Yes"

Pat Leahy [D, VT]
Patty Murray [D, WA] (and this)
Ben Cardin [D, MD]
Jim Bunning [R, KY]
Ron Wyden [D, OR]
Russ Feingold [D, WI]
Debbie Stabenow [D, MI]
Robert Byrd [D, WV]
Barbara Mikulski [D, MD] (and this)
Harry Reid [D, NV]
Robert Menendez [D, NJ]

Undecided

John Kerry [D, MA]
Maria Cantwell [D, WA]
Scott Brown [R, MA]
Jack Reed [D, RI]
Chuck Schumer [D, NY]
Barbara Boxer [D, CA]
Dianne Feinstein [D, CA]
Lindsey Graham [R, SC]
John Cornyn [R, TX] (also this)
Jack Reed [D, RI]
Richard Chambliss [R, GA]
Tom Udall [D, NM]
Jeff Bingaman [D, NM]
Carl Levin [D, MI]
Frank Lautenberg [D, NJ]
Johnny Isakson [R, GA]

Opposed

Kent Conrad [D, ND]
Bill Nelson [D, FL]
Mark Begich [D, AK]
Mark Warner [D, VA]
Judd Gregg [R, NH]
Chuck Grassley [R, IA]
Mike Enzi [R, WY]
Jeff Sessions [R, AL]
Mike Crapo [R, ID]
John Ensign [R, NV]
Lamar Alexander [R, TN]