Campaign finance reform organization Public Campaign points out the extent to which it pays to be a member of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit:
"Members of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit have received $12.8 million from the political action committees (PACs) and employees of the banking and finance industries throughout their career."
What’s more, this is an equal opportunity benefit. Together, Democrats and Republicans received a total of $3 million from the banking and finance industries in the last cycle. Of that $3 million, Democrats received $1.4 million, and Republicans received $1.6 million. Indeed, the current chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), took $114,100 in campaign contributions from big banks and investment firms during the 2010 elections.
With that in mind, it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that the subcommittee recently took steps to weaken the new consumer protection regulations in Dodd-Frank. In Wednesday’s markup of H.R. 1121, the Responsible Consumer Financial Protection Regulation Act, and H.R. 135, the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act, Republicans led by Capito endorsed bills that would grant bank regulators the authority to block Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules, and alter the leadership of the CFPB by replacing the single director with a five-member commission.
As Americans for Financial Reform noted on Tuesday, this would empower the same regulators who failed to prevent the financial crisis and drastically reduce the CFPB’s effectiveness. Given the billions banks save by blocking these regulations, spending $3 million on legislators is an incredible bargain; a small price to pay for peace of mind, if you’re a plutocrat.