Wall Street corporations made a record $2.9 billion in total political contributions over the course of the 2019-2020 election cycle, a new analysis shows.
Firms spent about $4 million per day over the course of two years on campaign contributions and lobbying efforts, spending nearly $1 billion more than the $2 billion spent during the 2015-2016 cycle, the progressive nonprofit Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) found in its "Wall Street Money in Washington" report released Thursday.
"The enormous sums that Wall Street has at its disposal, combined with a broken campaign finance system, means there is little practical limit to the amount of money the financial services industry can inject into American debate on politics and policy," Lisa Donner, executive director of AFR, said in a Thursday statement.
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She added that the huge amount of money Wall Street gives to politicians and political groups gives it an advantage over policies that determine "how we are governed while driving and protecting policies that help this industry’s super-wealthy amass even greater fortunes at the expense of the rest of us."
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Financial-sector entities and individuals made about $1.96 billion in contributions for federal candidates and spent about $930 million on lobbying campaigns, according to the report.
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Of the approximately $990 million that financial-sector individuals and entities spent on party-specific contributions, 53% went to Democrats and 47% went to Republicans.
The top presidential candidate recipients of finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector contributions include Joe Biden ($252 million), Donald Trump ($103 million), Pete Buttigieg ($8 million), Bernie Sanders ($6.9 million) and Elizabeth Warren ($3.7 million).
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The top five recipients of financial-sector contributions in the U.S. Senate during the 117th Congress include Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Jon Ossoff, D-Ga.; Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. During the 116th Congress, Republican Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were the top recipients of financial-sector contributions.
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign rally at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sunday, March 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The top five recipients of financial-sector contributions in the U.S. House of Representatives during the 117th Congress include Reps. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Steve Scalise, R-La.; Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.; Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; and Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. The top five House recipients were the same during the 116th Congress.
Additionally, the top five independent organization recipients of financial-sector contributions include the Republican Senate Leadership Fund ($183 million); the Democratic Senate Majority PAC ($69 million); former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC ($67 million); the Democratic House Majority PAC ($54 million) and the Republican Congressional Leadership Fund ($51 million).
The top 10 financial-sector companies and trade associations that spent the most on campaign contributions and lobbying efforts include Bloomberg LP ($157 million), National Association of Realtors ($154 million), Tom Steyer's Fahr LLC ($70 million), Citadel LLC ($69 million), Blackstone Group ($49 million), Charles Schwab & Co ($35 million), Susquehanna International Group ($30 million), American Bankers Association ($26 million), Paloma Partners ($25 million) and Bain Capital ($22 million).